Ethics: Reflect on the ethical and moral implications of the law and legal processes.
The following question is to be answered in a legal memorandum format. Please see the example provided at the end of this document.
FACT PATTERN (for question):
There was a volcano that erupted approximately 5 miles off of the coast of Florida on March 15, 1863. The result was an island measuring five-hundred by three-hundred miles….and it is inhabitable. The United States, pursuant to federal admiralty law (under federal statute 28 USC 1333 and Article 2, section 3 of the Constitution), has jurisdiction over this island.
In 1964, a secession group (Shiners) from Florida occupied the island. The Shiners desired peace and freedom to form their own commune for self-governance. They established idolatry worship practice based upon the ancient Grecian model of polytheism. They were largely unknown until a real estate developer filed an adverse possession claim with the Florida state government in 1990. The real estate developer represented Disney and thus sought to build a Disney theme island.
This issue quickly became national news because the Shiners were against Disney occupation of what they considered to be their land.
The media arrived on the island…realizing the power of media attention, the Shiner’s would tie themselves to trees (with hemp rope) to stop the heavy excavation equipment from breaking ground.
President Doe, through the Justice Department, filed an emergency injunction in federal court to ?�stay’ the development of the island. The President decided that an interim government, emergency services, and a commerce department must be established on the island while the government worked to annex the island to Florida or establish it as our fifty-first state.
Public sentiment quickly turned against the Shiners and rumors abounded that they had a suitcase nuke (sold to them from a looted cache in Eastern Europe post 1989). The populace believed they were in imminent danger. The Shiner’s leader, Ferngully, applied for a permit to hold a peaceful protest in front of the Florida State Capitol Building in Tallahassee. The government roundly denied the permit and said, ?�You can’t have a protest to incite hatred against us main landers!!’
Meanwhile, President Doe annexed the island to Florida. The island is now part of Florida and concurrently subject to federal jurisdiction. Floridians are happy because the increased attention has brought sales tax revenue to the state in the wake of the current recession.
The Shiners, upon learning of the island’s annexation to Florida, began filing a series of documents to protect their culture. Particularly, the Shiners filed the necessary documents with the IRS seeking recognition of their polytheistic religion for tax-exempt purposes. The IRS denied the petition with a one sentence explanation- “Your beliefs are ridiculous. Are you serious? No.”
Another issue arose at the last minute- the Disney Company was denied their petition to claim the island under adverse possession because a title search revealed that members of the Shiners had legal title to the land (the documents were buried and an astute legal intern found them).
The governor of Florida (Scott) decided to claim the island as Florida’s public property through Eminent Domain, thus dispossessing the Shiner members of their lawful title. Governor Scott also refused to give any financial compensation to the owners because ?�they were a bunch of land-squatting hippies.’ Events turned from bad to worse.
President Doe, swayed by the political tide of the upcoming election, stated that the Shiner’s were a threat to national security. President Doe, without declaring Martial Law, then sent in the Army Rangers. Under Presidential orders, the Rangers seized all of the Shiner’s rifles. Finally, the Army Supply Corps (Quartermaster) were not notified of this invasion…so the Rangers occupied the dwellings of the islanders.
President Doe issued an executive order shortly after the invasion and subsequent occupation. The following were the provisions:
1. The Shiners may not organize and practice their religion nor may any main lander associate with any Shiner for any purposes.
2. The Shiners may not bear arms.
3. The Shiners must billet the Rangers indefinitely until military occupation is no longer needed.
4. Any federal law-enforcement agency may search or seize any Shiner, or the dwelling of a Shiner, or the person (including physical samples) of any Shiner. There is no search warrant requirement or probable cause requirement to arrest a Shiner.
5. The island is public property of the state of Florida. Compensation to the titled owners is not required by law. Shiners are not entitled to notice or a hearing when the land is seized. A Shiner may be charged and convicted for the same crime in Florida and on the island, regardless of where the crime occurred.
6. Shiner’s are not entitled to public counsel, a speedy trial, or to have knowledge of who accused them of a crime.
7. Shiner’s only receive a trial by jury upon approval of Governor Scott.
8. Shiner’s are not entitled to bail upon detention. Further, Shiner’s may be executed only by the following means: Stabbing chair, drowning, or stoning by coconut.
9. Shiners may not sue the state of Florida to redress any alleged grievance.
10. Shiners are legally considered one-half of a legal citizen. Shiners can no longer own land. However, Shiners may work for the Florida government on a designated land plot where they may earn equitable title, as compensation, after five (5) years of servitude to the land.
11. Shiners may not vote until they legally own land (see the provision above).
12. Women cannot vote.
13. Alcohol is prohibited to be sold to or consumed by a Shiner.
President Doe then meets with the American Bar Association to discuss the issue of suspending the Shiner’s rights to a trial, jury, and legal representation. After reviewing the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the American Bar Association drafts the following ethical canon that is only applicable to the Shiners:
1. No Shiner is entitled to legal representation of any kind.
2. Shiners may retain private counsel (in accordance with the executive order), yet the following rules are applicable to the relationship between a Shiner and private counsel:
A. Counsel cannot discuss the legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct with a Shiner.
B. Counsel has no requirement to make progress in completion of the action (case).
C. Counsel is not required to notify the Shiner of any case status and may make decisions without consulting the Shiner. Informed consent is suspended.
D. Counsel may charge any fee counsel desires- there is not a limit or a floor.
E. Counsel is not required to keep attorney-client communications confidential and may openly discuss any matter related to a cause of action in any situation.
F. Counsel may represent the state of Florida and a Shiner at the same time (concurrently).
G. Counsel may represent any adversely interested party of a Shiner either during or after Shiner representation.
H. Counsel may represent a Shiner after representing the state of Florida in prosecution of the same Shiner (and the same charges or matter).
I. If counsel believes that a Shiner client is mentally incapacitated, counsel is under no duty to inform anyone or seek the advice of outside professionals.
J. Counsel will obviously have personal thoughts on the action and on the Shiner. Counsel may say anything to any media outlet (trial publicity) whether it materially affects the outcome of the case or not.
3. Florida or federal prosecutors may make false statements of fact to the tribunal (court) if said statements will aid in securing a (Shiner) criminal conviction.
4. Counsel may be a witness in any judicial proceeding, regardless of the interests to counsel, and without regard to the attorney-client relationship.
5. Judges do not need to follow case law or statues when rendering a decision (also incorporate this into the third question (below).
What, if any, Model Rules of Professional Conduct have been violated? Be as specific as possible.
Attached below is the guidelines for the legal memorandum:
Follow the items below to complete the exam:
Use American Psychological Association 6th edition (APA) style to cite your sources.
Responses that are not properly cited will be significantly marked down.
Use the main question as the heading for your response.
Your answer to each question should be 8-12, double-spaced pages.
Responses should be in APA 6th edition style and must include citations and a bibliography. You are strongly advised to access a variety of information from academic journals and other scholarly works via the Library.
You are also expected to include both seminal and contemporary sources of academic information. Each response should be supported with a minimum of eight (8) sources. Textbooks alone will not suffice and Internet/Web sources will not be considered credible.
Answers should demonstrate a mastery of the information covered in the core courses as well as the ability to synthesize and organize abstract information.
Ensure that your answers are well-organized and that they
Respond to the specific question asked,
Display the range and depth of your learning, and
Demonstrate your ability to conform to the analysis, writing, and research standards of masters level work.
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