Published on June 15, 2009 | by LawNews
Prof. Monroe Freedman in The Seattle Times
Professor of Law Monroe H. Freedman was quoted in the following Seattle Times article.
Are Jenny Durkan’s party ties an ethics issue?
By Mike Carter
The Seattle Times
June 15, 2009
However, a White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Durkan’s eligibility and qualifications for the post have been reviewed by administration and Justice Department officials after an exhaustive FBI investigation.
“There is no question that Jenny Durkan is qualified and up to the task of objectively investigating and prosecuting any case of public corruption,” the official said. “These relationships, and others like them, are not uncommon, and there are well-recognized rules to deal with them. Jenny will abide by those rules.”
Those rules probably would not preclude Durkan from overseeing an investigation into state government, said Monroe Freedman, a law professor at Hofstra University Law School in Hemstead, N.Y. Freedman is a renowned legal ethicist who has consulted and testified on the topic for the Justice Department. His 2004 text on the subject, “Understanding Lawyer’s Ethics,” is used by many law schools.
That could change if the investigation revealed that the governor or her office was involved, he said.
“The question is not whether a relationship might exist, but how close it is,” Freedman said. “Is it an ordinary friendship, or one that is such as to cause reasonable people to question … impartiality?”
The Justice Department requires a U.S. attorney to notify its Office of General Counsel when an office becomes “aware of an issue that could require a recusal in a criminal or civil matter or case as a result of a personal interest or professional relationship with parties involved in the matter.”