Legal Ethics

Disbarred Civil Rights Lawyer Once Won 2005 SCOTUS Ban on Ten Commandments in Ky. Courthouses


One of Kentucky’s most prominent civil rights lawyers has been disbarred after failing to remit to three clients over $150,000 to which they were entitled.

David Friedman had been suspended in August 2010 after complaints concerning two clients, one of whom was a Jefferson Family Court judge, reports the Courier-Journal. He did not contest the disbarment.

Friedman, who served for 25 years as the volunteer general counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, had argued 40 cases before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Among his biggest victories was a 2005 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court banning a display of the Ten Commandments in two Kentucky courthouses.

The Kentucky Supreme Court recognized Friedman’s pro bono service in its Thursday opinion and noted that his disciplinary history had hitherto been unblemished. However, he had to pay the price for his admitted misconduct despite these mitigating circumstances, it ruled.

The court said Friedman had withheld the money from clients because he was in financial difficulties at the time.

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