The question of whether a lawyer’s freelance fiction can require disqualification was both novel and important, Justice Yegan wrote. He said he hoped “that this case of first impression will make a lasting impression.”...Oh, so it's self-published and self-promoting? (Said the blogger.) Now, that's pretty awful... and the actual quotes there are really, really awful. But does writing a bad novel have any bearing on her fitness to do her job?
In a sworn statement filed in opposition to the disqualification motion, Ms. Dudley said her book was not based on a real case....
“Intoxicating Agent,” which Ms. Dudley paid to have printed, is made notable by Ms. Dudley’s acknowledgment to a local newspaper that her fictional heroine was “a pumped-up version” of herself.
Ms. Danner, Ms. Dudley writes, has “the poise and sexiness of a dancer, the brains of a scholar and the protective passion of a mother.”
“She had always been attractive,” Ms. Dudley continues, “but now, having reached middle age, experience, confidence and poise further enhanced her beauty.”
“It’s not really a good judgment call to closely mirror the facts of a case while it’s still pending,” Ms. Fairstein said.
Deborah L. Rhode, an authority on legal ethics at Stanford, said the appeals court’s ruling was correct but too broad.
“There’s a lot not to like in the way that this deputy district attorney traded on her office to promote her book,” Professor Rhode said. “And the court could justifiably be concerned that her desire for publicity could affect her decision whether to try the case or accept a plea.”
But the decision went on to seemingly ban all sorts of extracurricular writing.
“No current public employee,” Justice Yegan wrote, “should be permitted to exploit his or her official position as a lever to earn extra income.”