Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Frivolous Suits Against Judges - The Lawyer's Post

See - Legal Ethics: Frivolous Suits Against Judges And Personnel Of Judiciary Leads To Suspension... - The Lawyer's Post

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“Although the Court always admires members of the Bar who are imbued with a high sense of vigilance to weed out from the Judiciary the undesirable judges and inefficient or undeserving court personnel, any acts taken in that direction should be unsullied by any taint of insincerity or self-interest. The noble cause of cleansing the ranks of the Judiciary is not advanced otherwise. It is for that reason that Atty. Dealca’s complaint against Judge Madrid has failed our judicious scrutiny, for the Court cannot find any trace of idealism or altruism in the motivations for initiating it. Instead, Atty. Dealca exhibited his proclivity for vindictiveness and penchant for harassment, considering that, as IBP Commissioner Hababag pointed out, his bringing of charges against judges, court personnel and even his colleagues in the Law Profession had all stemmed from decisions or rulings being adverse to his clients or his side. He well knew, therefore, that he was thereby crossing the line of propriety, because neither vindictiveness nor harassment could be a substitute for resorting to the appropriate legal remedies. He should now be reminded that the aim of every lawsuit should be to render justice to the parties according to law, not to harass them.
The Lawyer’s Oath is a source of obligations and duties for every lawyer, and any violation thereof by an attorney constitutes a ground for disbarment, suspension, or other disciplinary action. The oath exhorts upon the members of the Bar not to “wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit.” These are not mere facile words, drift and hollow, but a sacred trust that must be upheld and keep inviolable.
As a lawyer, therefore, Atty. Dealca was aware of his duty under his Lawyer’s Oath not to initiate groundless, false or unlawful suits. The duty has also been expressly embodied in Rule 1.03, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility thuswise:
Rule 1.03 – A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt motive or interest, encourage any suit or proceeding or delay any man’s cause.
His being an officer of the court should have impelled him to see to it that the orderly administration of justice must not be unduly impeded. Indeed, as he must resist the whims and caprices of his clients and temper his clients’ propensities to litigate, so must he equally guard himself against his own impulses of initiating unfounded suits. While it is the Court’s duty to investigate and uncover the truth behind charges against judges and lawyers, it is equally its duty to shield them from unfounded suits that are intended to vex and harass them, among other things.
Moreover, Atty. Dealca must be mindful of his mission to assist the courts in the proper administration of justice. He disregarded his mission because his filing of the unfounded complaints, including this one against Judge Madrid, increased the workload of the Judiciary. Although no person should be penalized for the exercise of the right to litigate, the right must nonetheless be exercised in good faith. Atty. Dealca’s bringing of the  numerous administrative and criminal complaints against judges, court personnel and his fellow lawyers did not evince any good faith on his part, considering that he made allegations against them therein that he could not substantially prove, and are rightfully deemed frivolous and unworthy of the Court’s precious time and serious consideration.
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“Lawyers are licensed officers of the courts empowered to appear, prosecute and defend the legal causes for their clients. As a consequence, peculiar duties, responsibilities and liabilities are devolved upon them by law. Verily, their membership in the Bar imposes certain obligations upon them.
In this regard, Canon 11 and Rule 11.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility pertinently state:
Canon 11 — A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to the judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by others.
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Rule 11.04 — A lawyer shall not attribute to a Judge motives not supported by the record or have no materiality to the case.
In light of the foregoing canons, all lawyers are bound to uphold the dignity and authority of the courts, and to promote confidence in the fair administration of justice. It is the respect for the courts that guarantees the stability of the judicial institution; elsewise, the institution would be resting on a very shaky foundation.
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Worth stressing, too, is that the right of a party to seek the inhibition or disqualification of a judge who does not appear to be wholly free, disinterested, impartial and independent in handling the case must be balanced with the latter’s sacred duty to decide cases without fear of repression. Thus, it was incumbent upon Atty. Dealca to establish by clear and convincing evidence the ground of bias and prejudice in order to disqualify Judge Madrid from participating in a particular trial in which Atty. Dealca was participating as a counsel.The latter’s bare allegations of Judge Madrid’s partiality or hostility did not suffice, because the presumption that Judge Madrid would undertake his noble role to dispense justice according to law and the evidence and without fear or favor should only be overcome by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. As such, Atty. Dealca clearly contravened his duties as a lawyer as expressly stated in Canon 11 and Rule 11.04, supra.
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