Legal Ethics

Judge Sanctions Lawyer $11.5K for Coaching Witness at Deposition

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A 24-year practitioner has been sanctioned $11,484 by a Connecticut judge for coaching a witness during a deposition.

Defense lawyer Madonna Sacco has been sanctioned four times previously for “strikingly similar” behavior during depositions, but the penalties apparently didn’t have the desired deterrent effect, according to Hartford Superior Court Judge Robert Shapiro. He found not only that the medical malpractice specialist had violated discovery practice standards but that she had also violated attorney ethical rules, reports the Connecticut Law Tribune.

During a hearing earlier this year, Sacco argued that the judge had incorrectly invoked the ethics rules without adequate notice, contending that the state’s attorney disciplinary system was the proper forum for any such complaint. However, she has since paid the sanction, the legal publication reports. She declined to comment for the article.

No attorney grievance has been filed against Sacco, notes Mark Dubois, the chief disciplinary counsel for the the state. “Sometimes,” he says, “judges just like to handle these things themselves.”

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