RULE 3.5 IMPARTIALITY AND DECORUM OF THE TRIBUNAL

Effective Date: 8/1/2006

A lawyer shall not:

(a) seek to influence a judge, juror, prospective juror or other official by means prohibited by law;

(b) communicate ex parte with a judge, impaneled juror, prospective juror or other official concerning a pending or impending proceeding unless authorized to do so by law or court order;

(c) communicate with a juror or prospective juror after discharge of the jury if:

(1) the communication is prohibited by law or court order;

(2) the juror has made known to the lawyer a desire not to communicate; or

(3) the communication involves misrepresentation, coercion, duress, or harassment; or

(d) engage in conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal.

Comment

[1] Many forms of improper influence upon a tribunal are proscribed by criminal law. Others are specified in the North Dakota Rules of Judicial Conduct, with which an advocate should be familiar. A lawyer is required to avoid contributing to a violation of such provisions.

[2] During a proceeding a lawyer may not communicate ex parte with persons serving in an official capacity in the proceeding, such as judges, masters, or jurors, unless authorized to do so by law or court order.

[3] A lawyer may on occasion want to communicate with a juror or prospective juror after the jury has been discharged. The lawyer may do so unless the communication is prohibited by law or court order but must respect the desire of the juror not to talk with the lawyer. The lawyer may not engage in improper conduct during the communication.

[4] The lawyer's function is to present evidence and argument so that the cause may be decided according to law. Refraining from abusive or obstreperous conduct is a corollary of the lawyer's right to speak on behalf of litigants. A lawyer may stand firm against abuse by a tribunal but should avoid reciprocation; the tribunal's default is no justification for similar dereliction by a lawyer. A lawyer can present the cause, protect the record for subsequent review and preserve professional integrity by patient firmness no less effectively than by belligerence or theatrics.

[5] The duty to refrain from disruptive conduct applies to any proceeding of a tribunal, including a deposition. See Rule 1.0(p).

Reference: Minutes of the Professional Conduct Subcommittee of the Attorney Standards Committee on 09/20/85 and 10/18/85; Minutes of the Joint Committee on Attorney Standards on 04/16/2004; 03/18/05, 06/14/05, 09/09/05.

Effective Date Obsolete Date
08/01/2006 View
09/20/1985 08/01/2006 View