Ethics Hero: Criminal Defense Lawyer/Blogger Scott Greenfield

Scott Greenfield’s post yesterday on his blog Simple Justice was fortuitous, coming as it did shortly after my musings (item #2) about a trusted and respected legal ethics colleague whose ugly past ethical breach I only recently learned about. Greenfield isn’t quite discussing the same issue—my dilemma involves trusting someone’s judgment and integrity, his involves pure friendship—but his post is helpful nonetheless, and admirable.

In fact, it reminds me of my father.

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On Ghosting, Ducking, Evading, And The Duty To Explain

One of my best and dearest friends is currently distraught because someone he has been very fond of and close to for many years suddenly stopped communicating with him, or in the parlance of the day, has “ghosted him.” All of a sudden, for no reason he can imagine, his vanished friend refused to answer his phone calls, texts, emails or social media entreaties. It’s driving him nuts. No, his friend hasn’t died or been kidnapped. He’s just been cut out, dropped like the proverbial hot potato.

I thought about my friend’s pain during a recent work mystery: I was supposed to review an agreement for ethics issues, and time was supposedly of the essence. The company that had proposed the deal, however, kept stalling in sending the draft. First it was an email with the infuriating missing attachment; next it was the wrong file. Time was ticking: my client wanted to know what was causing the delay on my end.

I called everyone on the conference call that had ended with the document review as being agreed upon as the next step: nobody answered. Nobody answered my emails either. I called the lawyer orchestrating the deal. He was “out” but would call me later that day. He didn’t. I called again, telling his secretary that this was not making me confident about the company’s worth as my client’s business partner. I was told the lawyer’s assistant would call me “quickly.” Two hours later, after receiving no call, I called again. I was, shall we say, sharp. The secretary apologized and connected me to the lawyer’s assistant. She was professional, understanding, cooperative. She said there was no reason for me not to have received the document. “I’m going to storm into his office right now, and you’ll have the agreement to review in five minutes” were her exact words.

I never received the file, and I never heard from the assistant again.

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I Think We Can Safely Conclude That This Was Unethical…

In Brazil, a culture where respect for women is comparable to the U. S. in the early 19th Century, Gabriel Coelho forced Tayane Caldas, his 18-year-old ex-girlfriend, into his car as she was walking home from school.  He drove her to his home, and the 20-year-old Coelho then tattooed his full name on the girl’s face, as you can see above. Coelho claims that Tayane consented.

So I guess she wants to get back together with him…

Actually, that seems unlikely. For one thing, she had requested and received two restraining orders against Coelho, one in 2021 and another this year.  Still, Tayane’s mother had to encourage her daughter to press charges against her ex-boyfriend, as she was initially inclined to simply hide her new face tattoo with make-up. The fact that she even was thinking this way shows how primitive female self-esteem can be in Brazil.

Gabriel Coelho is under arrest, though his father backs his ridiculous defense that she consented to be branded. Of course he does. Men like Gabriel don’t turn out believing women are property without a role model.

Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz: Terms Of Affection And The Second Wife”

I guess I should apologize for using that clip to introduce DaveL’s sensitive and wise Comment of the Day, but I couldn’t resist: just leaped into my head. Otherwise, his superb observations need no introduction.

This is DaveL’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Quiz: Terms Of Affection And The Second Wife.”


I lost my first wife at a young age. She was 30, I was 26, we had been married a little over two years. I’ve since remarried, and have been so for nearly 13 years.

Widowhood seriously messes with people’s heads when it comes to timeless ideas of true love and fidelity. Divorce they can cope with – clearly that person wasn’t “the one”. It “wasn’t meant to be.” The pledge you made to love them for the rest of your life has been ruptured, no more need be said about it. But widowhood, particularly in the young who remarry, screws it all up because they feel they must choose one spouse to be “the one”, the “real” spouse, the “love of one’s life”, and the other one denigrated to understudy status. Continue reading

Is This The Most Unethical Job In The World That Isn’t Illegal?

Carolina Lekker, a Playboy model, says that she charges women up to $2,000 to approach their boyfriends on social media to test how faithful they really are.

She approaches unsuspecting men whose spouses or lovers suspect of being potentially unfaithful using Instagram and other social media platforms. After  enticing exchanges, she invites them to meet with her, and if they do, they are busted. Lekker then keeps the money and exposes their perfidy to their partner. If they resist their charms and prove their faithfulness, she returns the fee to the client.

Nice. (Incidentally, this is similar to the plot of Netflix’s “Clickbait,” on which I still have not managed to arrange the promised Zoom colloquy.) Continue reading

Welcome To The Weirdest Ethics Quiz Ever: Biden’s New Deputy Assistant Secretary At The Department of Energy

No, I am not making this up, it is not a hoax, and I have verified the facts.

The latest Biden Administration hire is one Sam Brinton, the new Deputy Assistant Secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the Office of Nuclear Energy for the Department of Energy. Brinton announced his hiring on LinkedIn, writing that “In this role I’ll be doing what I always dreamed of doing, leading the effort to solve the nation’s nuclear waste challenges” and would “even be (to my knowledge) the first gender fluid person in federal government leadership.” Here’s Sam:

This is also Sam, in his drag queen persona “Sister Ray Dee O’Active.”

Sam says describing “her”: “I am the slutty one. And the nerdy one.” But Sam is more versatile still. That’s him on the left in the photo under the headline acting as a “handler” in the leather culture sub-set called “Puppy Play.” Handlers help human “puppies” like this good boy…

… behave like dogs while being treated as dogs, including, as far as I can determine, having sex while “being” a dog. Continue reading

The Jeff Zucker Scandal’s Emerging Details Confirm The Long-Time Ethics Alarms Verdict: This Is And Has Been A Corrupt, Untrustworthy News Organization

And it, meaning its unethical and unprofessional leadership, management and employees, was allowed to manipulate public opinion, national politics, and the nation. Think about that.

We didn’t need more to know CNN President Jeff Zucker was a slimy, ruthless hypocrite—his network was proof enough— but the unfolding scandal has certainly provided spectacular confirmation. You need to thoroughly update yourself at the links, but here are some basics:

  • CNN’s President Jeff Zucker announced on February 2, 2022, that he was resigning from the company, over his illicit affair with subordinate Allison Gollust. The spin on this includes calling her a “colleague.” No, she worked for Zucker. That makes the relationship toxic, not just “inappropriate.” Both Gollust and Zucker left their marriages during the affair.

Who knows what employees, or female or minority employees, were passed over so Zucker could advance his lover’s career? That’s a major reason why the boss having affairs with subordinates is always wrong, always destructive, and must be addressed.

  • CNN talking heads and execs are making excuses for Zucker. One CNN executive told The Daily Beast, “People are pissed. No one thinks the punishment fits the crime.” And that proves how thoroughly ethics brain-dead Zucker has left CNN. When the head of any organization is caught violating that organizations rules and policies, he or she must resign of be fired.

The punishment does fit the crime. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/21/2021: Fake News, Fake Religion, Fake Competence…And Maybe Fake Accusations, Not That It Seems To Matter

Tonight, starting at 6 pm, EST, I’ll be facilitating a three hours CLE seminar via (yecchh) Zoom for the D.C. Bar. You can use the credits for other bars’ mandatory ethics requirements, so if you need them, I’d love to have you in the group. It’s all interactive, of course. I’ve been doing a year end legal ethics wrap-up, usually a re-boot of a seminar I present earlier in the year, for, oh, almost 20 years now. It’s not too late to register. The information is here, along with a promotional video I made a few months ago. They say video takes away 15 pounds of hair…

On the Christmas movie front: one Christmas movie that needs no ethics critique is 1947’s “The Bishop’s Wife,” an inexplicably under-seen classic film starring Cary Grant (as a very un-Clarence-like angel), Loretta Young and David Niven. It is as good as any of the Christmas classics and better than most, with a religious undertone that is missing from most of the others. In its time, “The Bishop’s Wife” was nominated for several Oscars, including Best Picture. Grant’s performance is especially deft, as he walks an extremely thin line, both in the plot and in his interpretation of the character. I was wondering last night why it hasn’t been remade, but it was: there is a 1996 musicalized version directed by Penny Marshall with Denzel Washington replacing Grant, Courtney Vance taking over for Niven, and Whitney Houston as a singing version of Loretta Young’s character. Justifiable remakes of classic films have to have a “why,” and this one’s justification was apparently that every classic with white stars has to be remade with black ones, or something. The reason I had never heard of it is that the film was generally regarded as inferior to the original, but I am going to have to track it down now and see for myself.

1. Believe all women/accusers/”survivors”… And if a career and a life is ruined unjustly, well, you gotta break some eggs to make an omelette, right? Chris Noth of “Law and Order,” “Sex in the City” and “The Good Wife” fame is now out of a job, having been fired from his supporting role on the CBS/Universal series “The Equalizer.” The reason: a Hollywood Reporter story revealed allegations of sexual assault against Noth by two as yet un-named women, one who says Noth sexually assaulted her in 2004 in Los Angeles, and another who alleges he assaulted her in his New York apartment in 2015.

Jeez, you’d think he had been nominated for the Supreme Court or something. Noth has denied the accusations, but never mind: they are enough, before any investigation, any trial, even any identification of the accusers, to get him “cancelled.”

Seems unfair, somehow….

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This Republican Maryland Mayor Just Doesn’t Get The Whole “Community Role Model” Thing


Cambridge, Maryland Mayor Andrew Bradshaw, the youngest mayor the city ever elected, now faces 50 counts of distributing revenge porn. State prosecutors announced yesterday that Bradshaw used Reddit to distribute intimate photos of a woman with whom he had previously been romantically involved. Prosecutors allege that he used photos of the victim’s face and “intimate parts” on a Reddit created to facilitate degradation and humiliation, and subreddits devoted to sexual “raceplay.” Bradshaw posted racial slurs there.

Maryland’s Revenge Porn Statute, Maryland Criminal Law Article § 3-809, prohibits “the non-consensual distribution of a private visual representation of another which exposes their intimate body parts or displays them engaged in sexual activity, with the intent to harm, harass, intimidate, threaten or coerce the person depicted.”

The woman, called “Victim I” in the charging document (here), did not consent to the use of her photos. She contacted law enforcement in May about the unauthorized posts, and a police investigation led to yesterday’s charges. Bradshaw faces a maximum penalty of two years of incarceration and a $5,000 fine for each count if convicted.


  • This isn’t going to do much for the Maryland GOP’s efforts to make inroads against the Democratic monopoly in the state.
  • How do people this stupid get elected? I just don’t understand it.
  • When they do get elected, can’t they control themselves sufficiently not to do something like this?
  • I suspect Bradshaw’s political career may be stalled for a while.

Return To”Field Of Dreams”

Field of Dreams2

Baseball had a rare PR triumph earlier this month when it held a regular season game between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox in the Iowa cornfield diamond that was the setting for the cult movie favorite “Field of Dreams.” The TV ratings were the best for any regular season broadcast in 16 years. That’s amazing, but maybe it shouldn’t be. Despite rumors of its demise, baseball still has a cultural bedrock of tradition, nostalgia and history unmatched by any other sport, professional or amateur. So many Americans would not tune in to a baseball game if they didn’t still have a flicker of affection for the sport, and if your argument is, “Yeah, but that’s just because of the movie,” the movie wouldn’t have become iconic if a lot of people didn’t care about baseball. As Terrence Mann said,

Now my confession: I’m not a wild fan of the film, nor that scene. The scene in particular is unforgivably stagey and artificial: it’s right out of the (much better) book, “Shoeless Joe,” and not even the great James Earl Jones could make it sound like anything but a recitation. I got annoyed, during the hype for the game broadcast, with “Field of Dreams” being repeatedly called “The greatest baseball movie.” I don’t regard it as that; I think it just barely makes the top five, and I could be talked out of ranking it that high.

For good reasons, many baseball writers, fans and bloggers have criticized the film over the years, and not just because it is shamelessly manipulative. But it is that. Baseball writer Craig Calcaterra, a vocal debunker of the film, writes,

“I will fully admit that a story about a father and son repairing a longstanding rift over a game of catch — with or without the magical realism elements — could form the basis of a MAJOR chills moment in an absolutely fantastic movie. The problem, as I’ve said in the past, is that “Field of Dreams” does not earn its chills moment. It is lazy in that it does not sketch out the dispute between Ray and his dad in anything approaching realistic terms — it’s dashed off in the rushed intro with almost no details — and it does nothing to explain why Ray’s moving the Earth and the Heavens to bring his dad back to that ball field is so important or why it serves as the “penance” Ray must pay for whatever reason. With no buildup or backstory, there’s no payoff.”

But worse, for me and others, is the slipshod handling of baseball history. “Shoeless Joe” Jackson was not innocent of taking a bribe to throw the 1919 World Series, he was guilty. He was not a thoughtful, wise-cracking Ray Liotta, he was just north of being a moron. He batted left-handed, and famously so, not right-handed like Liotta. When Frank Walley’s character, a magically reincarnated and youthened old ballplayer named Archie “Moonlight” Graham, whose single appearance in the major leagues was in 1905, is nearly beaned by a close pitch, he says “Hey ump, how about a warning?” Umpires didn’t warn pitchers for throwing at batters in 1905, and not for more than a half-century after that. Sloppy.

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