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Columnist: No Biggie, Reinstate Ganim Law License

December 7th, 2013 · 8 Comments · News and Events

Chris Powell, managing editor of the Journal Inquirer and one of Connecticut’s leading columnists, writes the Connecticut Supreme Court should reinstate former Mayor Joe Ganim’s law license. Basically he writes what makes the practice of law so special? It deserves no more respect than “used car salesmen, television preachers, or newspaper editors.”

Connecticut’s Supreme Court is deciding former Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim’s appeal to recover his license to practice law despite his federal conviction and prison term for corruption. The big issue in the case seems to be Ganim’s lack of repentance, but there’s a bigger and unacknowledged issue: the pretense of Connecticut’s legal system that there is special honor in the practice of law.

The Supreme Court itself essentially repudiated that pretense 30 years ago when, reversing longstanding Connecticut precedent holding that felons cannot practice law, it reinstated the law license of a Manchester man convicted of a felony in a motor vehicle fatality case in which he lied to police. But that case was not widely publicized as the Ganim case has been.

With so many watching, the Supreme Court should reinstate Ganim as a proclamation of “caveat emptor,” a warning that practitioners of the law in Connecticut deserve no more respect than used car salesmen, television preachers, or newspaper editors.

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8 Comments so far ↓

  • Mustang Sally

    How about Blog Masters? ;)

  • Local Eyes

    Cher had a #1 hit with Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves. She’s also the only artist to have #1 hits in four decades (’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s).
    Think they’re unrelated? I don’t.

  • David Moore

    This is a ridiculous editorial. No one would want to buy a car from a car salesman who cheated a customer. A dishonest attorney can do great damage to his or her clients. Ganim’s clients in this case were the people of Bridgeport. He does not deserve another chance to practice law and he should be barred from working as a paralegal as he is reported to be doing now.

  • Mojo

    *** Let’s see, Joe did wrong, was caught and spent a lot of money fighting the charges only to be found guilty. Lost plenty in the process, then was convicted and sentenced to a $ fine, jail time and post parole and probation of which he has by the judicial system, paid his debt to society. Now as a Fed. ex-con he’s hoping to get on with his life and family again with some type of normalcy if possible. Being an ex-con in America is difficult enough once you’ve passed through those revolving correctional doors without the thought of coming back and not being able to find a decent livelihood to support yourself and a family, if you’re lucky enough to still have one! So what’s left for a man to do to satisfy the victims and public, in feeling he’s shown real remorse for his wrongdoings? And if not, should the ex-con’s chance for an educational studied livelihood be taken away as well? How long and to what extent must Joe be denied and punished by public opinion and those who are swinging the law license carrot over his head? Everyone has an opinion one way or another and either way the Federal Prison System continues to have standing room only for the new and the returning old ex-cons who could not get it together for many reasons! *** PRICES FOR A POUND OF FLESH HAVE GOTTEN MUCH HIGHER, NO? ***

  • John Marshall Lee

    Ethical behavior is a public expectation of legal professionals as well as elected officials. That is one of our problems in Bridgeport where what constitutes ethical behavior is so hard to state unequivocally and reduce to a standard by which to live. (Do you see how we wrestle with ‘conflict of interest’ concepts in terms of having a City job while serving on a City Council that approves contracts and financing for the City administration?)

    Law students as part of their studies take a course in ethics, not to pass the Bar Exam, but to understand the above average standards they are expected to uphold … ethical behavior. Mayor Ganim faced a jury of 12, his peers, and was found guilty of 16 felonies. The court also found evidence of lying to authorities. Ganim did his time behind bars, served parole and recently left probation. During all of these periods he has been supervised by the legal system to monitor his compliance.

    However, the community has not seen whether the man has learned anything from this experience and can operate in the community at large with moral character and fitness. (Ganim is a smart individual with experience as an administrator and in various business fields tangential to representing legal clients.) How will he look half a dozen years from now, a period when he is no longer supervised and reporting to the public? Will he seem to represent the best aspects of the legal profession he aspires to rejoin? Will he have earned by his behavior a special second chance to rejoin the profession whose practitioners know they operate with a special responsibility? Will he have come to terms with the public corruption for which he served time and make a statement to the public that may open up elected public service again? A physician who succumbs to substance abuse personally and loses his medical license may still get a second chance to serve humankind in the field of healthcare, though not with Rx dispensing rights as an MD. That would be a second chance, not a do-over. And a professional athlete or a school teacher or business executive can have a career-ending injury or sickness that forces them to consider, regroup and pursue a new career, so second chances are not automatic in life. And all of us learn this type of ‘fairness’ is not guaranteed or to be expected in this life. Don’t we require the passage of time to see the character of the man? Time will tell.

  • Mojo

    *** Is this community that’s still waiting for better signs of remorse and moral character and fitness overall from Joe’s experience, the same community that had an 18% Mayoral voter turnout two years ago? The same community that just recently turned out an 11.?% voter turnout for the city council, city sheriffs and BOE general election? Also a city where the academic level is a “two” on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest best score! The Park City, that elected Ganim, Fabrizi and lately, Finch “twice!” Now this same city is asking to see more, from a man who’s “paid his debt to society” according to the CT Judicial System in order to be able to seek his old livelihood to support himself and his family! *** THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY ***

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