So-Crate’s post in an earlier thread suggests an interesting question:  Did Paul Rolf Jensen, LTC Lakin’s civilian defense counsel, violate the California Rules of Professional Conduct?

It’s apparent from one of Mr. Jensen’s web sites, here, that he was personally involved in making LTC Lakin’s initial video (available here)  in which LTC Lakin declared his intent to “disobey what I believe to be illegal orders” and have himself court-martialed.  California Rule of Professional Conduct 3-210, available here, governs “Advising the Violation of the Law.”  It provides:  “A member shall not advise the violation of any law, rule, or ruling of a tribunal unless the member believes in good faith that such law, rule, or ruling is invalid.  A member may take appropriate steps in good faith to test the validity of any law, rule, or ruling of a tribunal.” 

Thus, Mr. Jensen did not violate Rule 3-210 if, when he at the very least helped LTC Lakin make his video declaring his intention to violate orders, including his order to deploy to Afghanistan, Mr. Jensen believed in good faith that the orders LTC Lakin intended to disobey were invalid.  And that raises a factual issue as to Mr. Jensen’s specific intent about which I have insufficient information to opine whether he violated Rule 3-210.

Of course, no lawyer who had performed adequate research should believe that LTC Lakin’s deployment orders were invalid.  Thus,if Mr. Jensen did have the good faith belief necessary to sail into Rule 3-210’s safe harbor, he might have violated California Rule 3-110 by failing to apply the proper diligence and learning and skill before at the very least helping LTC Lakin make his first video.

8 Responses to “The Lakin case and the Rules of Professional Conduct”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I bet if we were able to pull back the curtain we’d see that LTC Lakin is largely driving this train himself. It strikes me that this may be something more than a principled stand on the issue of the President’s birthplace. Does anyone know the typical career progression of an Army doc — has Lakin been passed over for O-6 a couple times by now? Someone posted earlier that he has 18 years in.

    I guess my point is that I imagine Lakin, his civilian DC and military DC are all probably on the same page and understand that Lakin’s chances of winning at court-martial are exceedingly slim and that his chances of using the court-martial discovery process to compel the original birth certificate are equally slim. I think Lakin is choosing to ignore the odds and go forward anyway because (1) he is taking a genuinely principled (albeit stupid) stand and/or (2) he’s disgruntled and pissed off at the system for completely unrelated reasons.

  2. Crazy like a fox?! says:

    Maybe he’s setting himself up for political office? Or to write a book? In any event, this could actually end up being a sound financial decision for Lakin. I’ll be interested to see where this bozo is at in 20 years…

  3. Anonymous says:

    he is actually, or was, slated to be promoted to O-6 when he started this folly so I don’t think it is option 2.

    I suspect he started this train going, and the civ attorney and his ilk kept feeding the fuel to keep it going.

  4. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    Disclaimer – I neither endorse or believe the guano crazy theories advanced in this case are anything other than guano crazy.

    That said, I think that LTC Lakin has the right to on his own or through counsel challenge the validity of current law and attempt to change it if he and his counsel disagree with it. At this point they have not had to make legal arguments to a judge to counter the de facto officer doctrine or other issues. They’ve given a legal manifesto on their crusade to the IO, but have not been compelled to address other issues. Until such time as Mr Jensen proves himself ineffective I don’t think that I can hang him from the PR yard arm–and maybe not even then as there is a difference between being ineffective and warranting discipline.

    While I would not necessarily detail Mr. Jensen to defend LTC Lakin, he can choose his own counsel. If that results in counsel and client being hoisted by their own petard, well it wouldn’t be the first time.

  5. Socrates says:

    I essentially agree; many of my comments were speculative (e.g., “IAC WARNING”) and “gaming” out some scenarios.

    As I think about these matters, I thought about this question: Can the Convening Authority write a formal letter to LTC Lakin explaining the pertinent legal doctrines before the GCM, to memorialize these warnings? And then have that letter introduced as Exhibit A? (Or was that already done in the letter that advised him to seek counsel?)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Lakin’s civilian counsel is actually reasonably effective at getting his client what he wants-publicity. I think Lakin will be very disappointed if he doesn’t get some time in the pokey. After all, that’s what every political martyr needs. Lakin likely sees himself as a combination of King and Mandela, though I have to admit that getting someone to show a long, rather than a short, certificate lacks the resonance of freedom for millions of oppressed.

  7. Thomas F. Hurley says:

    I am fascinated by the complete lack of a coherent defense strategy during this entire process. Why not go through with the 32? You’d get to complain about the unfairness of the process in front of the media. You’d get to spend some more money on frivolous injunctions in federal court. Why not make a big deal out of your “in writing” objections that you submit after the hearing? Why just take all this money and quit like this? (Maybe that last question answers itself.)

    Anyone else getting this weird feeling that Mr. Jensen and LTC Lakin are performing some bizarre rope-a-dope on us all? This seems like the end of The Matrix and they are Keanu Reeves and normal thinking people are Mr. Smith.

    In that analogy…who’s Larry Fishburne? G. Gordon Liddy?

  8. King Jorge III says:

    I just watched some combat footage taken in Afghanistan yesterday. The medics worked quickly under fire to stabilized the wounded. It would have been nice to have a top notch doctor on the field of battle successfully treating the wounded from the front to the next up medical facility…so just where the hell is Birfer Lakin?

    According to Lakins CV etc he is supposed to be a top notch doctor and combat vet who is quite experienced at treating battlefield casualties.

    Nuff said?