Having been served Requests for Admission last Thursday (Ascension Day), perjuring priest Bob Malm may well be trying to hire defense counsel in one or more jurisdictions. That said, my advice to potential defense counsel is simple: Look before you leap.
Having practiced law for a number of years, and having represented a range of clients, including a couple real humdingers who were both violent and profoundly mentally ill, the one thing I learned was the perils of taking on bad clients. Some issues in the lawyer/client relationship could be managed; others could not. And in cases where problems could not be managed successfully, some really unpalatable options arose.
I’m thinking particularly of the perils of representing a client who lies. While this is not an uncommon thing, it is vital that the client be willing and able to tell his or her defense counsel the truth. Otherwise, the attorney runs the risk of being blindsided in court.
Even worse is the sinking feeling that hits when one realizes that one has been defending a fraud. When that happens, defense counsel winds up having to refuse to proffer evidence, having to correct past testimony, or having to seek the court’s permission to withdraw from representation,
Worst of all is the situation some attorneys find themselves in, which is when they wind up in the situation previously occupied by Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow. Too close to the situation to be objective, Sugarland wound up damaging his own reputation by proffering unprofessional pleadings laden with inflammatory rhetoric, false statements of law and fact, utterly inept legal research, atrocious legal writing, a total lack of proofreading, and ethically questionable conduct by both attorney and client. Indeed, at one point Sugarland phoned defense counsel and allegedly unleashed a string of childish profanity straight out of junior high school.
Of course, these shortcomings on Sugarland’s part also caused lasting damage to his client and related parties. And should Sugarland ever decide to repeat his ill-advised venture into civil litigation within Virginia, it’s likely that judicatories and members of the local bar alike will regard Sugarland with skepticism. And in the meantime, it’s a safe bet that Sugarland’s conduct is doing nothing to help Grace Church maintain its increasingly tenuous toehold in the local faith community.
So, my advice to potential defense counsel is this: Be sure not only that perjuring priest Bob Malm is telling you the truth, but also the whole truth and nothing but the truth. My belief is that perjuring priest Bob Malm is a master of manipulation, deceit, and duplicity, and very willing to mislead even those closest to him. Indeed, the glib manner in which he lied in front of Bishop Shannon Johnston by telling me during a meeting with the bishop, “Having resigned from the vestry, you were no longer eligible to serve as a trustee,” is profoundly troubling, especially since Bob’s own written chronology of events contradicts him. For Bob the motto seems to be, “Different audience, different story,” with no recognition that inventing reality on the spur of the moment is bound to cause problems for him.
The alternative is for prospective defense counsel to run the risk of assisting perjuring priest Bob Malm in his efforts to perpetrate a fraud on the courts. This does no one, including perjuring priest Bob Malm himself, any favors.
One final suggestion: Given Bob’s propensity for fiction, defense counsel would be well advised to see firsthand evidence to support perjuring priest Bob Malm’s claims. A good starting point would be to ask Bob about his assertion that my Mom or someone purporting to be her repeatedly set up appointments with him and cancelled. How did she set them up? Where are the calendars, emails, phone billing records, and other evidence that this happened? Can I see them? How many times did Ms. Yahner or someone claiming to be her set up appointments with you? Who else can substantiate your claim?
Such a line of questioning will make very clear exactly what sort of prospective client the attorney has on her hands.