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.