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Dueling Ethics Accusations Over Prosecutor’s Personal Blog Post

Posted Mar 5, 2009 3:39 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A Los Angeles prosecutor has been accused by a defense lawyer of acting unethically concerning an off-the-clock post he wrote for his personal blog, Patterico's Pontifications, about a Louisiana murder case.

By contacting potential witnesses in a case in which he has no legal role, deputy Los Angeles district attorney Patrick Frey violated legal ethics rules, contended attorney Kathy Kelly of the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana in a comment to the post. She is representing a convicted murderer in the Louisiana death-penalty case on appeal, reports Carolyn Elefant in a Legal Blog Watch post.

But it is Kelly, not Frey, who needs an ethics lesson, Elefant contends. "For starters, there's the matter of Kelly threatening to take an ethics action against Frey when there seems to have been no legitimate basis for doing so," she writes. "But more importantly, what kind of a defense attorney, when confronted with evidence compiled by a reputable blogger (who is a prosecutor, no less) wouldn't at least contact him for additional information?"

At this point, though, the dispute—which has generated a considerable amount of heat in the blogosphere—is moot, says Frey in a blog post yesterday: Kelly has apologized for what she now characterizes as a "rash" comment on her part, he points out, providing the text of her latest post.

"Fair enough," Frey writes. "Let us speak of it no more."

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