A lawyer who is a candidate for a municipal court is admitting that he "fudged" the law enforcement endorsements listed in his campaign literature. This is Joan Rusek's story from the Chagrin-Solon Sun News:
"Republican Chardon Municipal Court candidate Dennis Coyne admitted he 'tried to fudge' endorsements 'a little' on his campaign literature during an April 19 phone call with Police Chief Jon Bokovitz. That phone call was recorded, as are five phone lines that go through the Bainbridge police station’s nonemergency line [. . .] Those calls are answered by emergency dispatch operators.
Coyne was returning Bokovitz’s call. Bokovitz had called Coyne after a resident questioned him.
That resident received Coyne’s campaign postcard which states he is 'endorsed and supported by every police chief in Geauga County.'
The [campaign] literature, headlined with 'Honest – Ethical – Experienced,' also states Coyne is endorsed by 'every mayor, every prosecutor and every criminal public defender' in the county. The resident questioned the endorsement because it has been a long-standing policy for the chief to not endorse candidates and issues other than a Bainbridge police levy.
[Police Chief] Bokovitz said he told Coyne, 'No,' when asked for an endorsement in January. 'There can be hard feelings with other candidates,' Bokovitz said. “Because it falls under political party lines, it can also create hard feelings with residents who belong to a different political party.' In fact, Bokovitz would have been in an awkward position because one of his bosses, township Trustee Matt Lynch, is also running for the Republican ticket in the May 3 primary election."
Ms. Rusek's article goes on at some length analyzing Mr. Coyne's rationalizations for lying about his claimed endorsements.
I'm not posting the story about Mr. Coyne to call him a liar, but the Sun News account fits into a couple of overlapping threads from the last couple of days: the post at Bad Lawyer about the Judge who excluded the testimony and evidence which was supported by claimed expert testimony of an Alaskan State Trooper who said he could smell marijuana "grow operations;" and, the post and commentary at Scott Greenfield's Simple Justice blawg concerning a Las Vegas resident's beating at the hands of a violent cop provoked by the citizen's video recording of the officer involved. In a larger sense the overlapping discussions relate to official honesty and integrity.
Late yesterday morning I also heard James B. Stewart discussing (at the link you can listen as well, to Stewart talk about) his latest book, Tangled Webs with WAMU's Diane Rehm. Stewart discussed high profile liars: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, Martha Stewart, track and field star Marion Jones, Barry Bonds' trainer Greg Anderson, and Bernie Madoff. Stewart provocatively asks about the corrosive effect that our lying. Mr. Stewart concludes that failure to sanction lying degrades values and institutions and breeds widespread disregard for America and Americans internationally. Let's go one step forward, (expected) petty lying by lawyers undermines the rule of law, respect for the law, and respect for legal outcomes.
Personally, all this talk about lying and dishonesty makes me incredibly uncomfortable. If you put "lying" into the search function of this blawg you will come up with dozens and dozens of posts over the last couple of years about lying cops, prosecutors, lawyers, politicians, judges, witnesses, and me. This blawg is in many ways a reflection of the struggle on my part to come to grip with my dishonesty and lying. It's real easy to see it in Clinton, Bush Rove, Madoff, but it's another thing to see the little bits of "fudging." But fudging is lying. There should be no place for "fudging" in the law. That law enforcement and officers of the court are perceived to get away with it--is the problem. And going forward, for me, there is no room for "fudging."