Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dickhead Lawyer Has Foul-Mouth

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Richard Shackleton, a New Jersey Township Lawyer went out for a little Gun Range live pigeon shoot and just couldn't let the nearby protestors, alone.  Shakleton, after having his way with the birds cruised into the crowd of protestors and according to the ABAJournal website unleashed a vile rant including:

"'Go f--- yourself, you rotten c---,'

Shackleton’s invective was caught on videotape, as was his later refusal to apologize when confronted during the public comment period of a township meeting, the story says. 'I meant every word of it,' Shackleton said.  An employee of the group, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (shortened to SHARK) filed the ethics grievance, while the Pennsylvania lawyer he addressed, Marianne Bessey, filed the private criminal complaint after police did not file charges."
Shackleton now faces ethics charges and misdemeanor disorderly public allegations for his behavior and use of anglo-saxons.  It sounds like the New Jersey ethics authorities are going to use their First Amendment rights to reprimand Mr. Shakleton at some point in the not too distant future.  When the ethics police do this, it will be a victory for political correctness or courtesy. 

I remember the first time I heard lawyers use this kind of language with one another--even as an ex-Army tank commander from the, . . . er, Viet Nam "era," I was pretty surprised and shocked.  Really, there are rules of conduct applicable to this sort of language and conduct.  I really don't get this language coming from a lawyer particularly a public servant in public.  It's not illegal to talk this way, but it's not living up to the aspirational ideals of the "profession."  It's also not an ethics issue. 


  1. Perhaps I've misinterpreted what you're saying, but it appears to me that you are approving of the alleged victims' actions of filing an ethics complaint and a criminal complaint. If so, I find that shocking.
    The exchange did not take place in a courtroom or in any type of legal setting. It was one citizen responding to harassing behavior with a vile curseword. That both individuals involved are lawyers should have no bearing on the situation. He has the right to free speech, including insulting someone. She does not have the right to not be offended. I seem to recall a video on this blawg making that exact point not too long ago.
    Since the complaint and criminal charges are frivilous, it appears that they should be reversed.

  2. No, Deraj, I'm not approving of an ethics or criminal charge,a dn I agree that the charges are frivolous; but, I do understand that lawyers are suppose to aspire to a civility and when they intentionally provoke this sort of thing, I find it hard to sympathize with the little bit of ethical grief that they engender for themselves. My objection to rude conduct by Sheriff's deputies got be assaulted, beat up, jailed and prosectued and I had a Judge insist that my behavior "crossed the line" because I refused to leave an area of the courthouse when illegally ordered to do so. It has taken me some time to recognize that as wrong as the Judge is in thinking I should have left the courthouse because a Sheriff's deputy told me to , for no damn good reason--my behvior was provocative. It didn't provoke the assault upon me, but it provoked a response and reaction that I have had to live with. I want us to see that even when we are right, we can be wrong. Get my meaniong?