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Monday, October 3, 2011

Chip off the old block?

Here's an audio file of the August 2009 court hearing on Jefferson Smith's latest traffic ticket -- where he made an illegal lane change in a work zone on McLoughlin Bouevard. Smith's dad -- retired attorney and one-time Democratic Party honcho R.P. Joe Smith -- shows up to throw his son at the mercy of Judge Leon Colas.

Smith the younger was off at a conference in Colorado at the time of the hearing, as Dad is quick to explain to the judge. He even throws in a bit about how Jefferson was going to pick up a staff member when he "missed the sign." And of course, it's someone else's fault -- the lanes aren't clearly marked.

Smith Sr. also tells the judge that the younger Smith (whom he never expressly identifies as his son) was working hard to improve his driving record. That failure to appear on a speeding ticket five months before -- was that part of the improvement program?

Interestingly, the elder Smith was himself pushing the envelope in appearing in court as an attorney for an absent client. On the day of that hearing, like today, his status with the state bar was "active pro bono." Under bar rules, attorneys with that status are allowed to represent only indigent clients in limited circumstances:

The Active Pro Bono category of active membership is available to lawyers in good standing: Who agree to provide annually pro bono legal services to indigent clients referred by pro bono programs certified under Section 13.2 of the Bar’s Bylaws; who do not engage in the practice of law except for providing pro bono services specified above or in volunteer service on the State Professional Responsibility Board, a Local Professional Responsibility Committee, the Disciplinary Board or as bar counsel and who obtain professional liability coverage through the Professional Liability Fund or the program referring the pro bono cases.

Yet there he is, giving his bar number and appearing in court anyway. Ah, well. It's just a stupid rule.

Comments (3)

And all to knock $113 off his fine? Or does entering an explanation into the record accomplish something?

OK - now it all makes sense. I knew his dad years ago. Never really felt the guy had any practical ideas and wasn't very inspiring.

So is this all a "dad failed to reach his dreams, so force the kid to take over"?

But the kid doesn't really want be his dad, so he is acting out with loose financing and traffic incidents. Self-inflicted wounds to insure failure and get dad off his back.

Maybe it wasn't Jefferson asking his Dad to help him in court. Maybe dad went there to keep HIS dream alive.

Not related, but lest I forget, Brad Avakina got the OEA endorsement. I'd vote accordingly.

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