7th Circuit, Attorney Misconduct, Benchslaps, Contempt, Federal Judges, Frank Easterbrook, Lawyer of the Day, Legal Ethics, Litigators, SCOTUS, Screw-Ups, Supreme Court

Benchslap Of The Day: You Won’t Like Judge Easterbrook When He’s Mad

Judge Frank Easterbrook

Let’s play a game of circuit-court word association.

D.C. Circuit? Prestigious.

Ninth Circuit? Wacky.

Sixth Circuit? Vicious.

Seventh Circuit? Benchslappy.

If you question this assessment, please consider the latest benchslaps emanating from 219 South Dearborn Street….

We’ve covered epic Seventh Circuit benchslaps many times in the past. See, e.g.:

Most recently, we covered the Seventh Circuit’s low tolerance for poor typography choices, reflected in the court’s typography guide. Word on the street was that Judge Frank Easterbrook, a stickler for rules, might have been involved.

Judge Easterbrook, not surprisingly, is the dispenser of today’s benchslap. From his recent opinion in United States v. Johnson:

We have said enough to decide the appeal. Before closing, however, we add that Beau B. Brindley, who represented Johnson in this court, made it unduly hard for us to access the materials necessary for disposition.

Sounds like BBB is ’bout to get… benchslapped. After describing how the appendices filed by Beau Brindley did not contain all the relevant materials in the record, Judge Easterbrook writes:

Johnson’s brief contains this representation: “I, Beau B. Brindley, counsel for the defendant-appellant Mr. Mason Johnson, state that the appendices submitted with this brief on appeal incorporate the material required under Circuit Rule 30(a) and (b).” This representation is false.

After shooting down Beau Brindley’s various excuses for the inadequate appendices, Judge Easterbrook delivers the long-awaited benchslap:

Brindley may not have set out to develop a reputation as a lawyer whose word cannot be trusted, but he has acquired it. This opinion serves as a public rebuke and as a warning that any further deceit will lead to an order requiring Brindley to show cause why he should not be suspended or disbarred. We also direct Brindley to pay $2,000 as a sanction for his intentional violation of Circuit Rule 30(d).

It looks like Beau Brindley just got mauled by an Article III bear. And it seems that marriage has not mellowed Judge Easterbrook.

As for Beau B. Brindley, this isn’t the first time he has angered a federal judge. In late 2012, for example, Judge Michael McCuskey held Brindley in contempt and ordered him jailed for 48 hours.

Apparently BBB is a colorful character. The tipster who told us about this benchslap said, “This guy has quite a reputation here, and this won’t be the last you hear of him. He argued a Supreme Court case last year. The government’s brief in that case is an interesting read as well.”

That case, Vasquez v. United States, raised some questions about Brindley’s representation of his client. Brindley argued the case before the justices but never got a ruling; the case got dismissed as improvidently granted, i.e., DIGged.

So Beau B. Brindley has gotten jailed by a district judge, benchslapped by a circuit court, and DIGged by SCOTUS. Congratulations, Mr. Brindley, on winning the benchslap trifecta.

P.S. If you know of any other lawyer who can claim the dubious distinction of getting dissed by all three levels of the federal judiciary, feel free to email us.

(Flip to the next page for the full opinion in United States v. Johnson. The benchslapping starts on page 6 and continues through to the end.)

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