Letters to the Editor Archives

June 11, 2005

Letter to the Editors

Dear Editor:

I agree completely with the sentiments expressed by Gus Chin regarding the decline of professionalism, having been an involved observer for nearly three decades. The pit bull disposition he describes had its genesis in the "you only eat what you kill" mentality that was pervasive in the 1980s and was not limited to lawyers. Investment bankers contributed their fair share. Unfortunately, we seem not to have evolved much in the last twenty years. I won't speak for the investment bankers.

It would be nice if the Utah Bar Journal would contribute to professionalism by rejecting paid advertisements that perpetuate the image of lawyers as snarling dogs. How can we expect the public, TV and movie producers, or the news media to view us any differently than we portray ourselves?

R. Steven Chambers

Editor's Note: Point taken, but (without having made an extensive analysis) the editorial board expects that such advertising likely falls within the precedents protecting commercial speech by lawyers. In addition, in our experience these advertisements are usually somewhat tongue in rabid cheek. Alas, sincere civility and professionalism must ultimately come from the hearts of our members, as should expressions of approval or disapproval. Your letter sets an example of speaking up, civilly and professionally.

October 16, 2005

Letter to the Editors

Dear Editor:

It seems that with numbing regularity your Journal addresses the issue of lawyer civility and such a constant theme in the publication suggests that the Bar there has simply never learned good manners from any source. However, the article by Mr. Johnson I read with particular amusement. Were I in court trying the issue of whether new standards promulgated by the Utah Supreme Court for civility among lawyers should be adopted and Mr. Johnson were the witness for the proposition that such standards are unnecessary, and assuming that he testified in the same vein as his article, the court's offer of cross-examination would be met by the following heartfelt response: 'No questions, your Honor. The witness has adequately proved our point.'

Michael T. Lowe,
Orange, California

January 20, 2006

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

The ethical rules do not allow attorneys to collect interest on trust accounts because the property held in trust does not belong to the attorney. We should not take something that does not belong to us.

In 1983 the Supreme Court approved the IOLTA program. Endemic in the decision was the cankered logic that although the means to get the money was corrupt, the ends justified those means. After all, giving to charity is a noble virtue.

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April 25, 2006

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:

Maureen Henry ("Update on End-of-Life Issues in Utah", Utah Bar Journal January/February, 2006) discusses the expression "unnaturally prolong the dying process" as used in the Utah Personal Choice and Living Will Act (Utah Code ¤¤75-2-1101 et seq.), in the wake of the Terry Schiavo matter.

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August 9, 2006

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

I read the recent article entitled, "Along for the Ride?: Warrant Checks and the Status of Passengers During Traffic Stops in Utah" in the last issue of the Utah Bar Journal with interest. While I join with Mr. Starr in urging Utah appellate courts to place more reasonable restrictions on law enforcement officers in traffic stop circumstances, I cannot agree with Mr. Starr's premise that present law can be interpreted to allow Utah law enforcement officers to conduct a more expansive investigation with respect to passengers than can be conducted with the driver on the basis that the passenger is not justifiably seized. Utah law holds that a traffic officer exceeds the permissible scope of a traffic stop when he unlawfully seizes a passenger by taking her name and birth date, while expecting her to await the completion of a warrants check. To date, Utah cases continue to reason that if the officer is restrained from exceeding the scope of investigation permitted incident to a traffic stop with respect to a driver, then the officer is even further restrained with respect to the innocent passenger - not less as Mr. Starr suggests. Although there is room to refine Utah's passenger-warrants cases in light of recent U.S. Supreme Court opinions holding that questioning is not a seizure, it is unlikely that Utah appellate courts will abandon their previous acquiescence in defendants' arguments claiming that the passenger is seized concurrently with the driver by the initial stop of the car. It is difficult for me to imagine a traffic officer permitting passengers to run about or flee while a citation is being issued. Nevertheless, I applaud Mr. Starr's efforts in raising several of the many thorny issues involved in the law regarding traffic stops.

B. Kent Morgan

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

In May/June volume of the Utah Bar Journal, Jessica Peterson published her analysis of the Utah Supreme Court's opinion in Chen v. Stewart, 2004 UT 82, 100 P.3d 1177. While Ms. Peterson acknowledged her affiliation during law school with the law firm that lost the appeal, she nonetheless presented her analysis as objective. We also served as counsel in Chen v. Stewart and have a rather different view of the Court's opinion. However, instead of publishing our own lengthy analysis exposing each of Ms. Peterson's mistakes, we simply urge those interested in what the case stands for to read the opinion for themselves. In our view, Chen v. Stewart does not represent the furtive, radical shift in Utah law that Ms. Peterson suggests.

Todd M. Shaughnessy
James D. Gardner

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

I enjoyed Bryan Pattison's article, "Henriod, Dissenting" in the May/June 2006 issue, on the flamboyant and humorous dissents by Justice F. Henri Henriod.

When I clerked for Justice Henriod part-time as a law student in 1974-75, I found him always decent, courteous, and sensitive to the rights of litigants and their attorneys. He believed that legal precepts often could be conveyed best through a unique phrase.

My own favorite Henriodism was not a dissent but a concurrence. In a divorce appeal, he joined the majority opinion which disallowed testimony from a mother who attempted to show that a child born during the marriage was not the legitimate offspring of the husband. The husband acknowledged paternity but the wife disputed it. The majority was critical of the attempt by a parent to subvert the interests and welfare of the child. Justice Henriod added: "[I]n cases like this the children are not the bastards, but you know who." 518 P.2d at 690.

Roger Bullock

About Letters to the Editor

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