Reading someone else's text messages is generally frowned upon but sometimes it happens. At least, that's what Assistant District Attorney Doug Mann and defense lawyer Eric Perkins are arguing.
The pair have been ordered to attend ten and five hours of ethic classes, respectively, by a judge who claims she caught them snooping.
Judge Angelica Hernandez recused herself from a capital case involving the pair and banned Mann from her courtroom until he completes the class. He says it was all a misunderstanding, reports KIII TV.
It all started when Hernandez left her phone on her case manager's desk. Mann and Perkins were in the office to speak with the judge about an upcoming case.
Mann picked up what he thought was his cell phone, according to his claim. But it wasn't his.
He realized that the phone belonged to the judge when he saw a text message to her from the case manager. Then he made the comment that the phone wasn't his.
Perkins agrees with Mann's claim that the whole thing was an accident and has been blown out of proportion, he told KRIS TV.
Hernandez isn't buying it.
Prying into someone else's cell phone is a problem but it doesn't appear that the attorneys even saw anything problematic. They only saw a question from the case manager asking if the judge wanted to speak with the men or ask them to leave.
It also seems like it could easily be an honest mistake. After all, most cell phones these days look alike until you unlock the screen.
The District Attorney's office is currently appealing the judge's order. But in the meantime these men might want to look into available ethics classes.
- Ethics Classes Ordered for Lawyers Seen Reading Text Message on Judge's Phone (ABA Journal)
- Lawyer Suspended for 'Secretary With Benefits' Ad on Craigslist (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Ethics Tip No. 156: Don't Take Client's Money for Your Strip Club (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)