Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow’s recent motion before the Alexandria Circuit Court, in which he lies by telling the Circuit Court that I have violated the relevant protective order, and by claiming that I was neither a police officer nor a licensed attorney, raises some interesting questions under the attorney disciplinary rules. Most notably, it implicates an attorney’s obligation to take remedial measures when she or he comes to know that false evidence has been proferred.
Pursuant to rule 3.3, an attorney may neither mislead the court through a material statement of law or fact, nor knowingly permit a client to do so. The latter can be tricky, for it may conflict with the attorney’s obligation to maintain client confidences. In such cases, attorneys typically must counsel their client as to the potential implications of the falsehood, and may be required to withdraw from representation if the client does not heed those admonitions.
In the instant case, I already have provided documentation on this blog that Jeff’s claims about my bar admission and service as a police officer are false. He’s also on notice that his claim that I violated the restraining order is false, and that I have filed attorney disciplinary complaints against him.
Thus, Jeff now has a second obligation, which is to inform the court in writing that his prior representations were false. Given the seriousness of the issue, I would think that a second “emergency” motion would be forthcoming, probably sometime early today. Admitting to this is both a legal obligation on his part, and a practical one, for both the court and the various disciplinary boards are likely to view the matter with more leniency if Jeff takes action to correct the situation.
Will Jeff take these obligations seriously and retract the lies he has told to the court? I doubt it.
My take on things, which I have discussed previously, is that Jeff is far too close to the issue to be an effective attorney. Or, to use Jeff’s language, his “rantings and ravings” indicate he has lost all sense of his ethical obligations, as well as the independent judgment required of attorneys. He loudly proclaims his belief that I’m a liar, all the while sandwiching his claims between multiple lies of his own. In other words, the whole thing has become an appalling example of what happens when an attorney gets too caught up in his own case and comes to think that the ends justify the means. Of course, in the process, any notion of Christian conduct has gone out the window.
This sort of desensitization to the ethical component of one’s actions is exactly what you see in war time, when othewise honest members of the military behave badly, whether it’s the Mai Lai Massacre, or throwing helpless puppies over cliffs. In short, it is incumbent on men and women of integrity, when they see themselves moving in this direction, to recognize the dangers ahead of them, and take steps to back away before they do harm.
I have the suspicion, too, that Jeff’s misconduct goes further. Based on the emails I have obtained that he failed to provide during discovery, and the content that he has chosen to redact in other discovery items, I believe Jeff knows, for example, that it was Lindsey Malm who contacted the police in an effort to shut down a post on Fairfax Underground that she didn’t like. In other words, I think that Jeff knows full well that this is a non-meritorious claim, but he’s been resisting providing discovery materials that would make this clear to the tribunal.
Unfortunately for Jeff and his client, he’s now fallen into his own trap. He’s stuck with the result, and the disciplinary cases are moving forward. And there’s no hope that the underlying conflict will be resolved, since by law Dysfunctional Bob and I cannot communicate, and I certainly will not negotiate through Jeff Chiow, given his myriad instances of inappropriate behavior.
Things sure are a hot mess on Planet Malm.