Legal Ethics

Lawyer’s C-Word Invective Spurs Criminal, Ethics Charges by Animal Rights Group

A township lawyer in New Jersey is facing the wrath of an animal rights group after he used the C-word to describe one of its demonstrators.

Lawyer Richard Shackleton now faces an ethics grievance and a privately filed criminal complaint as a result of the Feb. 20 dustup outside the Philadelphia Gun Club where the group was protesting, the New Jersey Law Journal reports. Shackleton had taken part in a live pigeon shoot, and as he left, he yelled at a protester, who also happened to be a lawyer. “Go f— yourself, you rotten c—,” he screamed.

Shackleton’s invective was caught on videotape, as was his later refusal to apologize when confronted during the public comment period of a township meeting, the story says. “I meant every word of it,” Shackleton said.

An employee of the group, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (shortened to SHARK) filed the ethics grievance, while the Pennsylvania lawyer he addressed, Marianne Bessey, filed the private criminal complaint after police did not file charges.

Shackleton’s lawyer is Jeffrey Pollock at Fox Rothschild. He promised a vigorous defense. “If swearing in public in a private capacity is a sanctionable offense, you’re going to lose half the lawyers in New Jersey,” he told the New Jersey Law Journal.

Shackleton told the publication that “representatives of SHARK have been harassing the devil out of us” and they even posted an online video of his 11-year-old granddaughter shooting a gun. He is weighing a lawsuit, though no decision has been made. One possible claim, he said, is malicious interference with contract for attempts to get him fired from his job as Long Beach Township attorney.

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