Sunday, July 17, 2016

Change Requires Persistance

One of the most insidious events in my divorce was when the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board totally whitewashed my complaint against Nelly Wince.  It is one thing that Wince lied and committed fraud. It isn't hard to find bad people. But when the very institution that is designed to ensure lawyers act ethically and operate within the law blatantly does just the opposite, it is a much bigger problem. That is not just a crime against an individual, it is a crime against society as it undermines and subverts the entire legal process.

The evidence agaisnt Nelly Wince is ironclad. So much so that no one has ever refuted it.

Earlier this year, I sent a freedom of information act request to the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board asking for the documents in my complaint agaisnt Nelly Wince. I found out that all documents had been destroyed per the Lawyers Rules of Professional Conduct. (as odd as that sounds) While reading the rules I decided that I would see if I could change the rules.

Rather than trying to change the rule on document retention, I focused on a smaller, hopefully less controversial change.

The investigator who looked into my complaint agaisnt Nelly Wince was a divorce mediator. A person whose very livelihood depends on referrals from divorce lawyers. If this isn't a clear conflict of interest, I do not know what is. This is where I focused my attention.

Now how to change the Lawyers Rules of Professional Conduct is a far from transparent process. It was really only with the help of a sympathetic state senator that the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board told what the process is - this in itself is pretty disturbing.

The process is to petition the State Supreme Court, in a very specific manner, for the change. I did this. The specific change I am seeking is to add the following to the rules:
The investigator assigned, if a lawyer, shall not be in active practice in the same area of law that the lawyer under investigation practices in. The investigator assigned, if not a lawyer, shall not be a person who works in a profession which commonly receives referrals from lawyers who practice in the same area of law as the lawyer under investigation.
Pretty reasonable I think.

In my petition I specifically asked to be kept informed when the petition would be heard by the Court as well as the result. I heard nothing for six months. This week, however, I received an email from the court granting a request by the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board for a two week extension to the time in which they need to reply. The order was actually signed by the Chief Justice. And it included a case number.

Using the case number, I was able to look up the details of the case on the court's website. There I found my petition, communication directing the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board to respond, their request for an extension as well as the granting of the extension that I received. Again, the granting of the extinction request was the first communication I received from the court.

The case also included a petition submitted by a lawyer also regarding the Rules of Professional Conduct but on a wholly unrelated matter. I presume they lump such petitions together.

It will be awhile before I know the result of my petition. The Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board has until October 14th to respond to the court and who knows how long it will take before a decision will be made after that.

I am 99% sure my petition will fail. If I actually do succeed I suspect I will be the first non-lawyer in the history of the state to successfully petition for a change in the Lawyers Rules of Professional Conduct. I'll admit a part of me holds out hope for this. But even if it fails I take comfort in the fact that people at the Supreme Court, maybe even the justices themselves, have read not only petition but the background information I provided along with it. That can only help.

I did what I was supposed to in Spring's divorce of me. I told the truth and acted ethically despite the fact that Spring and Wince were not only acting unethically but criminally. Sadly they got away with it. My petition is a small but significant step in making it less likely others will suffer as I and my children have from corruption with the legal system.

The effect of such corruption on the children, including my children, breaks my heart. It is bad enough when a child's parent is a criminal. But is is far worse for a child to have a parent that is a successful criminal. When you get away with crime it builds a near insurmountable barrier to regret and remorse. Without regret and remorse there is little chance of forgiveness.

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