Gerard Plourde 1 hour ago
i agree with your analysis concerning the choice of law/choice of procedure issue. It appears that in trying to gain an advantage by having the judge apply foreign law the COS left itself wide open to the quick deposition process.
I also think that the local attorneys for the COS have to be sweating somewhat over the surveillance issue. Can anyone find out what if anything the Texas code of professional conduct may say about an attorney's duty to prevent illegal behavior by a client? A big paycheck from the COS would be worth far less if the attorneys end up before a bar disciplinary committee.
1 hour ago in reply to Gerard Plourde
From Texas Disciplinary Rules of Processional Conduct, Rule 1.02 (“Scope and Objectives of Representation”)
"(c) A lawyer shall not assist or counsel a client to engage in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent. A lawyer may discuss the legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct with a client and may counsel and represent a client in connection with the making of a good faith effort to determine the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law.
(d) When a lawyer has confidential information clearly establishing that a client is likely to commit a criminal or fraudulent act that is likely to result in substantial injury to the financial interests or property of another, the lawyer shall promptly make reasonable efforts under the circumstances to dissuade the client from committing the crime or fraud.
(e) When a lawyer has confidential information clearly establishing that the lawyer's client has committed a criminal or fraudulent act in the commission of which the lawyer's services have been used, the lawyer shall make reasonable efforts under the circumstances to persuade the client to take corrective action."
(C) says that a lawyer can’t actually help his client do anything bad. (D) says that when the client says they are going to do something bad, the lawyer must tell his client
not to do that. (E) requires a lawyer, when he gets information that the client has done something criminal, to ask the client politely to repair the damage from his criminal action.
None of it says that the attorney is responsible for actually preventing the action, just that the attorney must make a reasonable effort to persuade them to stop. Lots of wiggle room on that front, and no penalty for failure to actually stop them. So I doubt Mr. Spencer will be up on charges even if there is a fair amount of bad behavior from his clients. The path out of the woods for Mr. Spencer would likely be to withdraw from the case if his client acts badly enough.
Even if the Church told Mr. Spencer that they were going to do this surveillance (I'm sure they didn't), the key issue in determining whether disciplinary action could be brought is whether this type of surveillance is a crime. The code section only deals with "crime" and "fraud." It doesn't deal with "repugnant, disgusting low-life behavior."
I am not going to take a stab at whether the surveillance Mr. Jeffery has experienced is a crime. If "stalking" but not "surveillance" is a crime, then it would have to be established that the Church is "stalking," which I would assume would involve direct protection from an interested individual (i.e., a psycho ex husband). Hiring licensed professional private investigators to do surveillance for you may specifically be excluded from the definition of "stalking."