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Nevada Attorney Who Said State Judges Told Lies Suspended

Sept. 20, 2019, 7:45 PM

A Nevada attorney who said that several state judges “affirmatively fabricated a lie” was suspended for six months by the Supreme Court of Nevada.

Judge Lidia S. Stiglich wrote for the state’s high court that attorney James A. Colin “made statements in pleadings to the court concerning the integrity of several justices that he knew to be false or with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity and that he engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.”

The trouble started when Colin represented a criminal defendant in his appeal from a denial of his second postconviction petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

In a petition for a rehearing for his client where he also sought disqualification of the presiding judges, Colin “made a number of unsupported and outrageous remarks about the court and the justices,” the court said.

He wrote that the court had “affirmatively fabricated a lie,” that it was “drunk with power,” and that it wanted to see his client dead.

A state bar investigation into Colin’s behavior determined that he’d violated three professional conduct rules prohibiting:

  • conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal;
  • making a false statement concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge; and
  • conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Colin never showed up for the state bar hearing, where the hearing panel decided to suspend him for one year.

The state supreme court reduced the sanction to a six month and one day suspension. It found his conduct didn’t disrupt a tribunal because it didn’t happen in a courtroom. But it agreed that Colin made false statements about the judges and that his behavior was intended “to manipulate the appellate process.”

The case is In re Discipline of Colin, 2019 BL 353279, Nev., No. 73031, 9/19/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Melissa Heelan Stanzione in Washington at mstanzione@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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