Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Blake Civil Suit

Despite a colorful acting resume which could be said to invite some mean-spirited humor (e.g., "Slightly Dangerous", "In Cold Blood", "Kid Glove Killer", "Family Troubles", and "Have Gun - Will Travel"), Robert Blake has been acquitted of murder. But that's not what this blog entry is about.
[Blake] is being sued by Bonny Lee Bakley's family, a civil suit alleging wrongful death, set to go to trial on July 7th.

Eric Dubin, attorney for the Bakley family, says they are devastated by the verdict but hope the outcome of the civil suit will be different.

In an interview with KABC-TV, Dubin said the "overwhelming question I get every day is, 'Obviously he did it, but do you think they proved the case?' It becomes more of a game of reasonable doubt. And we just heard the jury say they think he did it, but they just didn't prove it. So that's my job to prove it in the civil case, and he's going down."

"Holly's devastated," Dubin continued, referring to Bakley's 24-year-old daughter, Holly Gawron. "I mean her mom was murdered twice: once in that car and once in the media... Justice will follow; I'll get it for them."
Typical rules of legal ethics prohibit statements by an attorney which are intended to influence the outcome of pending litigation. While attorneys like Dubin probably rationalize that this type of statement won't "have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding in the matter", such that they feel justified in saying whatever they want despite the rule, sometimes I wish rules like this had teeth. (And no, I don't personally believe that the lawyer would be making the rounds of the media, issuing his pronouncements about the case, if he didn't anticipate that his statements would affect the ultimate settlement or verdict.)

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