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Minn. Supreme Court considers sanctions for lawyer’s anti-Catholic slurs

Posted Oct 4, 2013 3:30 PM CDT
By Mark Hansen

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The Minnesota Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday over the proper punishment for a lawyer who laced court pleadings with anti-Catholic slurs.

The court will decide whether Rebekah Nett should be suspended for six months, as a special referee has recommended, or for two years or more, as the state Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility is recommending, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Nett is accused of peppering court filings with anti-Catholic slurs and other hateful rhetoric. She even referred to one federal judge in a pleading as a "black-robed bigot."

A special referee earlier this year recommended the six-month suspension, after which Nett would have to petition for reinstatement. But lawyer discplinary authorities objected to the referee's recommendation, saying it wasn't severe enough.

Some of the justices wanted to know if Nett was sorry. Her lawyer, Zorislav Leyderman, admitted that Nett has never apologized for her actions, but said her acceptance of a six-month suspension evidenced some remorse.

But Patrick Burns, first assistant director of the lawyer disciplinary body, said a case could be made for Nett's disbarment.

"If there were such a case, this would be it," he told the justices.

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