CLE: Special Counsel Investigations and Legal Ethics a success
Today's CLE was a lively discussion with an expert roundtable and an engaged, packed house. Organized by Professor Jane Moriarty, Carol Los Mansmann Chair in Faculty Scholarship, the 2-hour Ethics CLE covered an array of riveting legal ethics issues.
From all things President Trump and Robert Mueller to the complexities of Special Counsel Investigations throughout presidential history, the panel debated, agreed, and shared a deep knowledge of constitutional and criminal law. The non-partisan discussion was fueled not just by current events, but by questions that have simmered around investigations into six of the last nine presidents. Linda Tripp and Ken Starr came up. Watergate loomed large, in particular the Saturday Night Massacre. The issue of presidential pardons was debated.
Duquesne School of Law Professor Jalila Jefferson-Bullock said, “It’s about time to think about certain restrictions on presidential pardon power. Historically it was thought that the president would be of such high moral character that it wouldn’t be an issue.” We know that modern history has tested that assumption.
Questions were explored like "Has the Mueller investigation gone on too long?" Professor Lissa Griffin, Director Criminal Practice Concentration Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University pointed out, "Many would say yes, but remember, when the defense attorneys involved delay and negotiate for months, this takes up a lot of time." Professor Bruce Green, the Louis Stein Chair at Fordham Law School said, "I'm a fan of Mueller. He's been a sphinx from the point of view of legal ethics. We know there are rules for prosecutors. You cannot slander the accused. A huge amount is left to the prosecutor's discretion. Mueller has been exemplary. It actually raises the question - why do prosecutors ever have a presence on Twitter, or in the media. Why, if there is no public threat that needs to be shared is a prosecutor speaking to the public?" The spectacle of lawyer Michael Avenatti was debated, speaking about a lawyer doing press interviews.
From the time our panel arrived and prepared for today’s CLE until the last expert left for the day, questions swirled about the fascinating and critical role lawyers play in the most pressing issues of our society.
Thank you to our panel: Professor Ben Gershman, Pace Law School, Professor Bruce Green, the Louis Stein Chair at Fordham Law School, Professor Lissa Griffin, Director Criminal Practice Concentration Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, Professor Ellen Yaroshefsky, Howard Lichtenstein Professor of Legal Ethics and Director od he Monroe Freedman Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, Duquesne University School of Law Associate Professor Jalila Jefferson-Bullock, Peter A. Joy, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, Henry Hitchcock Professor of Law, and Director of the Criminal Justice Clinic at the Washington University School of Law, Professor Bruce Ledewitz, Duquesne University School of Law.
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