This is an unusual disciplinary case. The ARDC has claimed that Michael Joseph Finn failed to show up for an oral argument in a criminal case at the Seventh Circuit. The lawyer called the Seventh Circuit the morning of the argument and stated that he was too sick to do the argument. The Seventh Circuit held the argument anyway and issued a Rule to Show Cause why he should not be disciplined.
The ARDC alleges that the lawyer was not sick, but, rather unprepared. If this were a civil case, I don’t think this would have resulted in a disciplinary complaint. Most civil cases are resolved on the briefs. The defendant’s liberty is not at stake. Here, the Seventh Circuit must have believed that the excuse given was not genuine and that, in a criminal case, the defendant has a right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution.
Edward X. Clinton, Jr.