► Columbus Dispatch - 08/25/01 - Judciial system is on vendetta against reformer Print E-mail

Columbus Dispatch – Aug. 25,  2001 – Opinion

Judicial system is on vendetta against reformer
I write concerning the case of the Ohio Supreme Court vs. David Palmer, the persistent critic of the legal system portrayed in the Aug. 16 Dispatch.
The lackey lawyer representing the exalted court disclaimed any vendetta against Palmer for publicly accusing allegedly double-billing judges of theft and for placing the judiciary in a very negative light. That claim doesn't even pass the involuntary laugh test. Of course it's a vendetta. And any attempt by the Ohio Supreme Court to portray it any other way will merely provoke scoffs of contempt from a discerning public accustomed to government duplicity.
Consider the reported evidence. Palmer is principally accused of holding himself out as a lawyer by the use of the initials JD on his Web site. These initials are a common abbreviation for the term Juris Doctor, which means Doctor of Jurisprudence. A J.D., in that context, is one who has earned a law degree.
Palmer humorously claims that J.D. in his case stands for Just Dave.
A certified J.D. in the legal sense does not automatically become a lawyer in Ohio. One must, in addition to earning a law degree from an accredited university, apply for, take and pass the bar exam to obtain a law license.
When a J.D. is awarded a law license, he is given the honorary title "Esquire," which appears after his name on his certificate of admission to the bar and signifies that this particular J.D. also is licensed to practice law. 
Thus, if the Ohio Supreme Court is claiming that Palmer held himself out as a practicing lawyer by the use of the initials J.D. and not by the use of the initials Esq., its case must fail, as, in this event, it must be conceded that he never professed to be a licensed and practicing lawyer. This is the case even if he somehow falsely held himself out as having attained certified educational achievements in the field of law.
The high court will, of course, point to the Web site language "free legal advice" in a pathetic attempt to prove that Palmer was actually holding himself out as a lawyer. But how could any member of the public actually be deceived into believing Palmer to be an actual lawyer under these circumstances? After all, what real lawyer gives free legal advice? Thus, it must be viewed as the joke Palmer claimed it was.
Which brings us to the nub of the case, which has everything to do with controlling the speech and protest activities of a man on a mission to reform a system resistant to reform.
Show me one incident in which Palmer represented himself as a bona fide lawyer, deceived a purported client into believing that and then took on a case and otherwise advised the client on a course of action with legal consequences, and I will change my opinion.
Otherwise, the Ohio Supreme Court's reportedly paltry case looks petty indeed.
Palmer should probably consider sidestepping the charade before what one of his supporters referred to as a "Kangaroo Court" and instead seek an injunction in federal court against the Ohio Supreme Court for violating his civil liberties in an obvious attempt to shut down what really amounts to nothing more than a protest operation. Win or lose, we'll then see where he really stands, and where the Ohio Supreme Court really stands. Now, the Ohio Supreme Court's standing is pretty low. 
David A. Sams
Attorney at Law

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