Saturday, October 24, 2015

Motor City Marvin Suspended From Practice of Law

Attorney Marvin Barnett
Jeeze, say it ain't so. Just as we put the touches on our inaugural Motor City Original series a few months ago by highlighting a victory for attorney Marvin Barnett, the Attorney Discipline Board suspended his law license for three years for multiple ethics violations.

Barnett, a colorful iconic Detroit criminal defense lawyer, has made a career out of taking on the Detroit Police Department and its investigators. Perhaps his crowning achievement was causing the probe into the DPD's crime lab; an investigation that ultimately shut the lab down.

When we bumped into Marvin earlier in the month in the Oakland County Circuit Court, he was talking retirement. With hindsight, he may have seen this opinion coming.

After a hearing at which three sitting Wayne County Circuit Court judges testifed on Barnett's behalf, the ADB concluded that the Motor City defense counsel intimidated a witness in a federal criminal trial and neglected two client matters while mishandling client funds.

The ADB alleged Barnett intimidated the witness in the federal criminal proceeding by telling the witness he risked assassination if he testified in the case against Barnett's client, describing to the witness how his testimony would be transcribed and distributed throughout the local community.

That's all bad for this Motor City original. He cannot represent clients and earn money as a lawyer for three years. At least he did not lose his law license with a bisbarment which was considered. Avoiding disbarment is important because, to earn a law license back, the disbarred attorney must pass the bar exam.

We wish Mr. Barnett well in the upcoming years and wonder weather he will just retire, or whether we will see him in a court room down the road.


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