Legal Ethics

Lawyer told prosecutor she ‘doesn’t know how to act like a young lady,’ ethics complaint says

  • Print.

complaints documents

Photo by ESB Professional/

A Michigan lawyer called a prosecutor a “little girl” who “doesn’t know how to act like a young lady” and then misrepresented his behavior on Facebook, according to allegations in an ethics complaint filed last month.

It’s not the first time that lawyer Clifford Woodards II has run into ethics trouble, the Detroit Free Press reports. He was reprimanded in October 2017 after telling a probation agent that she had “angry black woman’s syndrome” and “that’s why you don’t have a husband.”

In the latest incident, Woodards wrote on Facebook that the prosecutor “went straight into rat mode.”

Woodards had challenged the prosecutor, Heather Washington, in March 2018 when she told him she could not offer a plea deal in his client’s traffic case without seeing the client’s driving record, according to the ethics complaint.

Woodards “became aggressive” as he asserted that the prosecutor was wrong about the Detroit Law Department’s policy, the complaint says. He demanded to know how long the prosecutor had worked there (she started the previous August), and he said he knew the policy because he had been working downtown for 15 years.

As he was leaving the office, Woodards said something to the effect of: “These kids think they know everything and always want to argue with people,” the complaint alleges.

Woodards then returned and pointed a finger in the prosecutor’s face, the ethics complaint says. According to the allegations, he said something to the effect of: “Little girl, don’t talk to me and move out of my face,” and/or “You need to back up, little girl, and know your place.”

He also allegedly said the prosecutor “doesn’t know how to act like a young lady, acting immature.”

A supervisor who heard raised voices entered the office and separated Woodards from the prosecutor.

In his Facebook post, Woodards said it was the prosecutor who had spoken aggressively when he returned to the office. After he had told the prosecutor he wasn’t there to speak with her, “she lost all maturity and professionalism,” Woodards wrote. “She went straight into rat mode, stepped into my personal space, and derisively started waving papers directly in my face.”

Woodards removed the post several days later. Woodards told the Detroit Free Press he could not comment while the ethics complaint is still active.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.