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Idaho State Bar v. Warrick

137 Idaho 86 (2002)

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Idaho State Bar v. Warrick

Idaho Supreme Court

137 Idaho 86 (2002)

Facts

Prosecutor Steven Warrick (defendant) admitted writing “waste of sperm” and “scumbag” next to Ronald Calfee’s name on the inmate-control board where Calfee was jailed. At the time, Warrick was in charge of prosecuting Calfee for dealing methamphetamines. Warrick claimed he meant only to humor law-enforcement officers working at the jail, only a few people saw the words, and Calfee never saw or heard about them. Someone nonetheless filed complaints against Warrick with the Idaho State Bar (ISB) (plaintiff). The ISB filed a formal disciplinary action alleging Warrick violated the ethics rule that prohibits an attorney from engaging in conduct serving only to embarrass, delay, or burden someone while representing a client, including appealing to or engendering bias against someone for improper reasons, as well as the rule that prohibits conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. Both parties moved for summary judgment. The Professional Responsibility Board (board) granted summary judgment for the ISB as to the first rule but for Warrick as to the second. Warrick appealed the summary judgment for the ISB, arguing he was not representing anyone when he wrote the words and did not mean to embarrass, appeal to, or engender bias against Calfee. The ISB’s counsel countered that Warrick violated both rules but conceded that the court need not find violation of the second rule if it affirmed violation of the first.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Walters, J.)

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