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Bar Association Punishes Lawyer for Telling the Truth

By       Message Roger Shuler     Permalink
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Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

Lawyer B files a bar complaint against Lawyer A, claiming she made false statements about him in court documents.

During a hearing on the complaint, Lawyer B admits that the allegations against him--that he made false statements in a child-custody case--are not mere allegations. They are, in fact, true.

What does the bar association do about this turn of events? It punishes Lawyer A, suspending her license for a year. It has done nothing, so far, to Lawyer B--even though his false statements apparently resulted in him receiving both full custody and a highly favorable financial arrangement.

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This, folks, is how the Alabama State Bar dispenses "justice." We suspect that bar associations across the country make similarly absurd findings. And much of this activity takes place in secret, outside the public arena, even though courts are funded by taxpayers.

As nutty as the whole thing sounds, we are not making it up. Lawyer A is Angela Turner Drees (photo above). Lawyer B is Kile Turner, her former husband. The children in question are the Turner triplets, who now are 10 years old and reside full time with Kile Turner and his current wife, Sara M. Turner.

The children have not seen their mother for more than two years, mainly because of Kile Turner's claims, under oath, that Hajo Drees, Angela Turner Drees' current husband, was convicted of domestic violence while living in Nebraska. Angela Turner Drees stated in multiple court filings that Kile Turner's claims were false, and those statements largely were ignored. When she filed a bar complaint against Kile Turner, it was not even investigated.

But what happened when Kile Turner filed a bar complaint against her? It was investigated, a hearing was conducted, and Angela Turner Drees was suspended from the practice of law for one year . . . for telling the truth.

In fact, we now have multiple public documents that show Kile Turner has admitted his claims against Hajo Drees were not true. So how did the Alabama State Bar reach a conclusion that is absurd on its face?  The decision apparently was driven by the two-tiered status system that exists in the legal profession. Angela Turner Drees was a solo practitioner. Kile Turner is a partner in the downtown Birmingham firm of Norman Kendrick Wood and Turner. Sara M. Turner, Kile's new wife, is an associate in another downtown Birmingham firm, Baker Donelson.

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The Alabama State Bar apparently finds it easier to punish a "little guy (or gal)" who is innocent than to zap a partner from a major firm. I suspect other state bars behave in a similarly distorted fashion.

In fact, the sense of entitlement that can emanate from a major law firm is stunning. As we reported recently, one of Kile Turner's law partners threatened me with a defamation lawsuit for writing about the Turner v. Turner case--even though public documents indicate every word of my reporting is true.

We already have reported on one such public document, a petition for a writ of mandamus filed by Angela Turner Drees. That matter is pending before the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. We now have a second such document. Angela Turner Drees has appealed her suspension to the Supreme Court of Alabama, and the Alabama State Bar has filed a motion to dismiss the appeal. In her motion to strike the bar's dismissal motion, Drees states:

The Alabama State Bar is attempting to mislead this tribunal by submitting false information, half-truths and omissions of fact so as to unfairly persuade this Court in violation of Alabama law and the Alabama Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. . . .

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)

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