shutterstock_218204401Judge Hanen recently refused to lift his injunction blocking the implementation of the president’s expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as well as the new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program.

Many are following the case closely, no surprise, as it has implications for millions of people and potentially thousands of AILA’s members.

What hasn’t been covered in the press quite as much is that Hanen, in a companion order to his refusal to lift the injunction, chastised DOJ lawyers for violating Rule 3.3 of the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct and corresponding state rules relating to a lawyer’s duty of candor to a court or tribunal.

As Chair of the AILA Ethics Committee, I worked with my fellow committee members to take a harder look at Judge Hanen’s accusations in the context of Rule 3.3 and complex immigration law and policy in a hotly contentious and politically charged case. At issue is whether a judge should be so quick to accuse a lawyer for violating Rule 3.3 when there is a misunderstanding about the scope of what the injunction blocked and did not block. I encourage you to follow this link to the full document.

But consider this: while the lawsuit is wending its way forward on three tracks at the moment, even if the Fifth Circuit reverses, the accusations of unethical conduct stemming from the companion order may still linger, and it is important that we shine some light on it.

Written by Cyrus Mehta, Chair, AILA Ethics Committee