In the Matter of Anonymous Member of the South Carolina Bar

In The Supreme Court
In the Matter of Anonymous Member of the South Carolina Bar, Respondent .
opinion No. 26964
Heard September 22, 2010 – Filed April 25, 2011

disciplinary Counsel Lesley M. Coggiola and Deputy Disciplinary Counsel Barbara M. Seymour, both of Columbia, for Office of Disciplinary Counsel .
David Dusty Rhoades, of Charleston, and Cynthia Barrier Patterson, of Columbia, for Respondent .
PER CURIAM : In this lawyer discipline matter, the Hearing Panel ( the Panel ) determined Respondent was discipline to discipline for violating Rule 7 ( a ) ( 5 ), RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR, and Rule 8.4 ( vitamin e ), RPC, Rule 407, SCACR, both of which provide that a lawyer may be disciplined for engaging in lead tend to pollute the government of justice or bring the legal profession into disrepute, and Rule 7 ( a ) ( 6 ), RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR, which provides it is a ground for discipline for an lawyer to violate the lawyer ‘s oath of office. A majority of the Panel concluded Respondent ‘s action warranted an admonition and would require Respondent to pay the costs of this continue, while one member of the Panel recommended Respondent receive a letter of caution with a find of minor wrongdoing. We find that Respondent did violate the rules outlined above, but we disagree with the majority of the Panel ‘s recommendation. We find respondent ’ south recognition of misconduct and compunction to be sincere and effective in the extenuation of our sanction. accordingly, we issue a secret letter of caution with a find of minor misconduct to Respondent .
additionally, for the benefit of the bar, we take this opportunity to address what we see as a growing problem among the prevention, namely the manner in which attorneys treat one another in oral and written communication. We are concerned with the increasing complaints of incivility in the cake. We believe United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor ‘s words elucidate a lawyer ‘s duty : “ More civility and greater professionalism can only enhance the pleasure lawyers find in practice, increase the effectiveness of our system of judge, and improve the public ‘s sensing of lawyers. ” Sandra Day O’Connor, Professionalism, 76 Wash. U. L.Q. 5, 8 ( 1998 ) .
The conventional charges in this count arose out of a disciplinary complaint regarding an e-mail message Respondent sent to opposing guidance ( Attorney Doe ) in a pending domestic count. Respondent represented the mother and Attorney Doe represented the father in an emotional and heated domestic quarrel. It was within this context that Respondent sent Attorney Doe the come e-mail ( the “ Drug Dealer ” e-mail ) :
I have a client who is a drug dealer on. .. Street down township [ sic ]. He informed me that your daughter, [ redacted ] was detained for buying cocaine and heroine [ sic ]. She is, or was, a adolescent, correct ? This happened at night in a know high crime/drug area, where alos [ sic ] many shootings take place. Lucky for her and the two other teens, they were n’t charged. Does this make you and [ redacted ] bad parents ? This incident is far worse than the allegations your client is making. I barely thought it was ironic. You claim that this case is sol unplayful and complicated. There is nothing more complicate and serious than having a child originate up in a high class white kin with parents who are highly educated and financially successful and their child turning out buying drugs from a crack fountainhead at night on or near. .. Street. Think about it. Am I right ?
Attorney Doe ‘s spouse, besides an lawyer, filed the complaint in this matter after Attorney Doe disclosed the “ Drug Dealer ” electronic mail to him. At the hearing, Respondent admitted that Attorney Doe ‘s daughter had no connection to the domestic action .
At the hear, Respondent asserted that the e-mail was in reaction to day by day objectionable, arch, and harassing e-mails, faxes, and hand-delivered letters from Attorney Doe. These communications allegedly commented on the fact that Respondent is not a parent and consequently could not advise Respondent ‘s customer appropriately. [ 1 ] In support of this controversy, Respondent submitted five electronic mail exchanges between Respondent and Attorney Doe, four of which were dated after the “ Drug Dealer ” e-mail. In promote support of Respondent ‘s assertions, Respondent claimed to possess ten-spot banker ‘s boxes wide of e-mails and early documents that constituted casual bullying from Attorney Doe ; however, these documents were not produced. Due to a lack of attest supporting Respondent ‘s assertions, the Panel found Respondent ‘s testimony to be entirely lacking in credibility. ultimately, the Panel found Respondent was subject to discipline for sending the “ Drug Dealer ” electronic mail to Attorney Doe .
“ This Court has the sole authority to discipline attorneys and to decide the appropriate sanction after a exhaustive reappraisal of the record. ” In re Thompson, 343 S.C. 1, 10, 539 S.E.2d 396, 401 ( 2000 ) ( citations omitted ). “ Although this Court is not bound by the findings of the Panel and Committee, these findings are entitled to great weight, particularly when the inferences to be drawn from the testimony depend on the credibility of the witnesses. ” In rhenium Marshall, 331 S.C. 514, 519, 498 S.E.2d 869, 871 ( 1998 ) ( citation omitted ). “ however, this Court may make its own findings of fact and conclusions of law. ” Id. ( citation omitted ) .
I. Conduct Prejudicial to the Administration of Justice
“ It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to. .. engage in conduct that is damaging to the presidency of justice. ” principle 8.4 ( e ), RPC, Rule 407, SCACR. additionally, a lawyer is subjugate to discipline for “ engag [ ing ] in behavior care to pollute the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute. .. . ” rule 7 ( a ) ( 5 ), RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR. This Court has stated that a lawyer ” must act in a dignified and professional manner, with proper respect for the parties, witnesses, opposing rede, and for the Court. When a lawyer fails to conduct himself appropriately, he brings into question the integrity of the judicial system, and, vitamin a well, disserves his customer. ” In rhenium Goude, 296 S.C. 510, 512, 374 S.E.2d 496, 497 ( 1988 ) .
We agree with the Panel that Respondent ‘s e-mail was demeanor tending to bring the legal profession into disrepute and was damaging to the government of department of justice. By sending the “ Drug Dealer ” electronic mail to Attorney Doe, Respondent was doing a disservice to Respondent ‘s client. An electronic mail such as the one send by respondent can only inflame the passions of everyone involved, make litigation more acute, and undermine a lawyer ‘s ability to objectively represent his or her client. This kind of personal attack against a family member of opposing guidance with no joining to the litigation brings into wonder the integrity of the judicial arrangement and prejudices the presidency of justice.

II. irreverence of the Lawyer ‘s oath
Respondent contends that the politeness article contained within the lawyer ‘s curse is unconstitutionally obscure and overbroad. We disagree .
Respondent took the lawyer ‘s curse which includes the following article, “ To opposing parties and their guidance, I pledge paleness, integrity, and civility, not entirely in court, but besides in all written and oral communications. .. . ” convention 402 ( kilobyte ), SCACR. The United States Supreme Court has noted that lawyers are not entitled to the same First Amendment protections as laypeople. See In rhenium Snyder, 472 U.S. 634, 644–45, 105 S. Ct. 2874, 2881 ( 1985 ). furthermore, attorneys ‘ “ [ o ] bedience to ethical precepts may require abstinence from what in other circumstances might be constitutionally protected lecture. ” In re Sawyer, 360 U.S. 622, 646–47, 79 S. Ct. 1376, 1388 ( 1959 ) ( Stewart, J., concurring ). “ even outside the court ,. .. lawyers in pending cases [ are ] subjugate to ethical restrictions on manner of speaking to which an ordinary citizen would not be. ” Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada, 501 U.S. 1030, 1071, 111 S. Ct. 2720, 2743 ( 1991 ) .
A. obscure
“ The concept of vagueness or indefiniteness rests on the constitutional principle that procedural due action requires fair notice and proper standards for adjudication. ” State v. Albert, 257 S.C. 131, 134, 184 S.E.2d 605, 606 ( 1971 ). “ A police is unconstitutionally obscure if it forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms therefore obscure that a person of common intelligence must necessarily guess as to its mean and differ as to its application. ” Curtis v. State, 345 S.C. 557, 572, 549 S.E.2d 591, 598 ( 2001 ) ( citation omitted ) .
In Grievance Administrator v. Fieger, 719 N.W.2d 123 ( Mich. 2006 ), cert. denied, 549 U.S. 1205, 127 S. Ct. 1257 ( 2007 ), an lawyer challenged the constitutionality of Michigan ‘s “ civility ” and “ courtesy ” rules for lawyers. That court held, “ such a challenge can not be successfully advanced hera because there is no motion that even the most free-and-easy read of these rules would put a person intelligibly on notice that the kind of language used by Mr. Fieger would violate MRPC 3.5 ( degree centigrade ) and MRPC 6.5 ( a ). ” Fieger, 719 N.W.2d at 139. In this subject, there is no wonder that even a casual take of the lawyer ‘s oath would put a person on notification that the character of linguistic process used in Respondent ‘s “ Drug Dealer ” electronic mail violates the civility clause. Casting aspersions on an opposing advocate ‘s offspring and questioning the manner in which an opposing lawyer was rearing his or her own children does not tied near the margins of the politeness article. While no one argued it in this subject, it could be argued that the linguistic process used by Respondent in the “ Drug Dealer ” e-mail constituted crusade words. furthermore, a person of common intelligence does not have to guess at the meaning of the politeness oath. We hold, as the court held in Fieger, that the politeness oath is not unconstitutionally obscure .
B. Overbroad
“ The First Amendment overbreadth doctrine is an exception to the common rules regarding the standards for facial challenges. ” In rhenium Amir X.S., 371 S.C. 380, 384, 639 S.E.2d 144, 146 ( 2006 ). Under the overbreadth doctrine, “ the party challenging a codified simply must demonstrate that the legislative act could cause person else—anyone else—to abstain from constitutionally protected saying. ” Id. ( citation omitted ). The overbreadth doctrine has “ been implemented out of concern that the terror of enforcement of an excessively broad jurisprudence may deter or ‘chill’ constitutionally protected speech—especially when the excessively wide law imposes condemnable sanctions. ” Id. at 384-85, 639 S.E.2d at 146 ( citation omitted ). The overbreadth doctrine :
. .. permits a motor hotel to wholly invalidate a codified entirely when the terms are so across-the-board that they punish a solid sum of protect barren lecture in relative to the legislative act ‘s differently plainly legitimate sweep—until and unless a specify construction or partial annulment narrows it therefore as to remove the threat or deterrence to constitutionally protect formula .
Id. at 385, 639 S.E.2d at 146–47 ( citation omitted ) .
A woo analyzing whether a corrective rule violates the First Amendment must balance “ the State ‘s interest in the regulation of a specialize profession against a lawyer ‘s First Amendment interest in the kind of language that was at issue. ” Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada, 501 U.S. 1030, 1073, 111 S. Ct. 2720, 2744 ( 1991 ). “ In those instances where a lawyer ‘s unbridled speech amounts to misbehave which threatens a significant state interest, a express may restrict the lawyer ‘s use of personal rights guaranteed by the Constitutions. ” In ra Johnson, 729 P.2d 1175, 1178 ( Kan. 1986 ) ( citing N.A.A.C.P. v. Button, 371 U.S. 415, 438, 83 S. Ct. 328, 340–41 ( 1963 ) ). “ A layman may, possibly, pursue his theories of spare lecture. .. until he runs afoul of the penalties of libel or slander, or into some misdemeanor of our statutory police. A penis of the cake can, and will, be stopped at the compass point where he infringes our Canon of Ethics. ” In rhenium Woodward, 300 S.W.2d 385, 393–94 ( Mo. 1957 ) .
The interests protected by the politeness oath are the presidency of justice and integrity of the lawyer-client relationship. The State has an sake in ensuring a system of regulation that prohibits lawyers from attacking each other personally in the manner in which Respondent attacked Attorney Doe. such impart not only compromises the integrity of the discriminative process, it besides undermines a lawyer ‘s ability to objectively represent his or her node. There is no significant total of protected barren speech penalized by the civility oath in light of the oath ‘s obviously legitimate brush of supporting the administration of justice and the lawyer-client relationship. frankincense, we find the politeness curse is not unconstitutionally overbroad .
We find respondent violated rule 7 ( a ) ( 5 ), RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR, and Rule 8.4 ( e ), RPC, Rule 407, SCACR, both of which provide that a lawyer may be disciplined for engaging in impart tend to pollute the administration of justice or bring the legal profession into disrepute, and Rule 7 ( a ) ( 6 ), RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR, which provides it is a ground for discipline for an lawyer to violate the lawyer ‘s oath of office. Because we find answering ’ s acknowledgment of misconduct and compunction to be earnest, we issue a private letter of circumspection with a detect of child wrongdoing to Respondent. We publish this letter of circumspection in the In ra Anonymous format so as to provide guidance to the stripe. We caution the browning automatic rifle that henceforth, this type of behavior could result in a populace sanction.

TOAL, C.J., BEATTY, KITTREDGE and HEARN, JJ., concur. JUSTICE PLEICONES has filed a separate opinion .
JUSTICE PLEICONES : As I would impose no sanction or other prerequisite in association with this count, I respectfully decline to join in the impression .
[ 1 ] A complaint filed by Respondent against Attorney Doe was concluded in a confidential manner .

informant :
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