The Delaware Supreme Court has ruled that a local judge was wrong to deter right-wing extremist lawyer L. Lin Wood Jr. from working on a lawsuit filed in Sussex County Court.
A year ago, Wood’s temporary authority to practice law in Delaware was revoked by a judge in the Sussex County Superior Court, citing dishonesty and incompetence in legal efforts that involved Wood elsewhere with the intent of overturning the presidential election on behalf of the former president. Donald Trump.
Prior to Wood’s involvement in the legal challenges of the November election, he represented Carter Page, a political operative involved in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Page sued Oath Inc., the parent company of Yahoo! News, for slander in Sussex County Superior Court.
Wood is not a member of the Delaware Bar, but was given permission by the court to represent Page, a general privilege granted to outside attorneys in the Delaware courts. The Page lawsuit was eventually dismissed, but before that, Woods had the privilege of conducting lawsuits in Delaware revoked by Sussex County Superior Court Judge Craig A. Karsnitz.
At the time, Karsnitz ruled that Wood had engaged in conduct in other states that would run counter to Delaware attorneys’ rules of professional conduct if that conduct had taken place in Delaware. Karsnitz cited election cases related to Wood in Georgia and Wisconsin.
“Mr. Wood’s conduct, though not in my jurisdiction, exhibited a poisonous stew of lies, insults, and surprising incompetence,” Karsnitz wrote, revoking Woods’ authority to practice in Delaware.
This order cited a long list of shortcomings, errors, and falsities in lawsuits that Wood was associated with in Georgia and Wisconsin that sought to overturn election results in those states. These lawsuits were quickly settled in these states. Some have been appealed.
Karsnitz said he did not make a decision on any specific violation of professional conduct, but is committed to ensuring that those who practice before him are of “adequate character” and “behave with sufficient courtesy and truthfulness.”
Karsnitz also quoted tweets from Wood, including one in which Wood called for the arrest and execution of former Vice President Mike Pence. Karsnitz said tweets likely contributed to the instigation of the Jan. 6 uprising of Trump supporters who took over the U.S. capital.
Wood and Ron Poloquin, a local attorney representing Wood in his appeal of the order, argued that he was not an attorney who had signed the Wisconsin law and was the plaintiff, not an attorney, in the Georgia case. Wood refused to try to mislead anyone through the trial, saying he had not been sanctioned in any way by the authorities for the police attorney behaving in those states.
Wood also sought to revoke the court’s permission to work on the Page case in Delaware before Karsnitz entered the order.
In its ruling, the Delaware Supreme Court noted that state or federal courts in Georgia never ruled that Woods’ complaint there was frivolous or in bad faith. The Supreme Court said Wood was not allowed to respond to allegations his influence on the January 6 uprising was a sign of “an unfair process.”
The court noted that Karsnitz sought to cast irregularities on Wood’s character, which were not supported by evidence in the minutes leading up to Karsnitz’s decision.
The Supreme Court wrote that it is appropriate for lower courts to ask attorneys to show why their temporary authority to conduct trials in Delaware should not be revoked when that attorney is accused of serious misconduct elsewhere.
But in situations like Wood’s, where allegations of misconduct in another state have not been convicted, where the alleged misdemeanor has not adversely affected the Delaware proceedings, and where the attorney agrees to remove himself, it is an abuse of discretion to the right to revoke a lawyer’s recognition, the Supreme Court ruled.
Contact Xerxes Wilson at (302) 324-2787 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @Ber_Xerxes on Twitter.
This article originally appeared in the Delaware News Journal: The order to start pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood from the Delaware court was reversed