Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Second Circuit Updates – April 7, 2016

No decisions or orders out of the Second Circuit today. Two interesting notes:

  • An attorney in Albany received a public reprimand and a two-year ban from practicing as a CJA lawyer before the Second Circuit for “engaging in conduct unbecoming a member of the bar.” The attorney had failed to file documents in a timely manner on numerous occasions in at least 3 different cases, among other unprofessional conduct. The Second Circuit found two aggravating factors in making this finding. First, that the attorney had been privately reprimanded for the same sort of behavior previously and that the “misconduct occurred in criminal appeals, where important liberty interests are at stake.” Interestingly, the panel (Cabranes, Sack, and Wesley) made clear that the order “should not be perceived” as requiring reciprocal discipline in the district court, where the attorney can still practice. (See New York Law Journal article here.)
  • Yesterday a man was sentenced by the US District Court in Plattsburg, NY (N.D.N.Y.) to 38 months for two counts of transmitting through interstate commerce a threat to injure another person. (Story here.). The charges stemmed from 10 posts on the defendant’s Facebook page that threatened local police officers, including a comment that read “I want belso Herne deadt,” an apparent reference to a specific officer. (See the other comments here.). It’s a reminder that Facebook threat cases are still alive and well, even in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Elonis v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2001 (2015), which overturned the conviction of a man who made threatening statements about his ex-wife via public Facebook posts. For a great and easy read on the narrowness of the Elonis holding, see Dahlia Lithwick’s Slate piece from last year, shortly after the verdict, see here.

-Thea Johnson

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