Kansas appeals court research lawyer is fired for tweeting that an ex-attorney state general was a “naughty, naughty boy” and “d—chebag” during a Bar disciplinary hearing

Hello everyone and welcome to this Ethics Alert blog which will discuss recent media articles about a Kansas appeals court research lawyer who was fired for tweeting that an ex-AG was a “naughty naughty boy” and “douchebag” during Bar disciplinary hearing.

According to the media reports, Sarah Peterson Herr, a research lawyer for a Kansas appeals court was fired on November 19, 2012 after posting derogatory tweets about former Kansas attorney general Phill Kline during a Bar disciplinary hearing which was held on November 15, 2012.  The lawyer apparently posted tweets calling the former attorney general a “naughty, naughty boy” and criticizing his facial expression.  One of the tweets said: “Why is Phil Klein [sic] smiling?  There is nothing to smile about, douchebag.”  The lawyer also tweeted a prediction that Kline would be disbarred for seven years as a result of Bar charges that he or his subordinates misled others during an investigation of abortion providers.

The tweets have now been removed and the lawyer sent the Associated Press an apology which stated: “I didn’t stop to think that in addition to communicating with a few of my friends on Twitter I was also communicating with the public at large, which was not appropriate for someone who works for the court system.  I apologize that because the comments were made on Twitter—and thus public—that they were perceived as a reflection on the Kansas courts.”

Also according to media reports, five of the seven justices of the Kansas Supreme Court previously recused themselves from the Kline disciplinary matter because some of the alleged misconduct occurred either in the justices’ presence or in proceedings filed with the court and the case is being heard by the two remaining justices and five lower court judges.

Bottom line:  Looks like 21st Century technology snared another lawyer.  Please don’t do this…

… and be careful out there!

Disclaimer: this e-mail does not contain any legal advice and the comments herein should not be relied upon by anyone who reads it.

Joseph A. Corsmeier, Esquire

Law Office of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A.

2454 McMullen Booth Road, Suite 431

Clearwater, Florida 33759

Office (727) 799-1688

About jcorsmeier

Joseph A. Corsmeier is an “AV” rated attorney practicing in Clearwater, Florida. He concentrates his practice primarily in the areas of defense of attorney disciplinary matters before The Florida Bar, attorney admission matters before the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, and professional license and disciplinary matters before the Boards of the State of Florida. He provides expert analysis and opinion on conflict of interest and other attorney disqualification and legal malpractice issues and he testified as an expert in the Florida courts. He served as an Assistant State Attorney in the Sixth Judicial Circuit from 1986 to 1990 where he prosecuted felonies exclusively from June 1987, and as Bar Counsel for The Florida Bar’s Department of Lawyer Regulation from 1990 to 1998. He also practices in the areas of estate planning and Medicaid qualification, workers’ compensation, and labor law. Mr. Corsmeier is the author of numerous articles for various bar publications, has spoken at numerous local and statewide seminars on various topics, including ethics and professionalism, and was an instructor of legal ethics for paralegals at Rollins College until the Tampa campus closed. He received his undergraduate degree from Florida State University and his J.D. from Mercer University. He is admitted to practice in all Florida Courts, the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the Middle District of Florida. He is a member of The Florida Bar, American Bar Association, the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, and the Clearwater and St. Petersburg Bar Associations.
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