Judge takes bite out of ex-Maumee man's judicial watchdog site

By JAMES DREW

BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF

COLUMBUS - A California judge has shut down the web site of a former
Toledo area resident who runs a one-man group called The Committee to
Expose Dishonest and Incompetent Attorneys and Judges.

Ruling in a lawsuit filed by former Santa Ana, Calif., attorney RonaldE. Lais, Judge Francisco Firmat of Orange County Superior Court
prohibited self-described "judicial watchdog" David Palmer from
publishing any information about Mr. Lais on his web site.

The judge ordered that the web site, amoralethics.com, be "disassociated
and disconnected from all Internet search engines, indexes, andd
providers." Mr. Palmer, a former Maumee resident who lives in Powell,
Ohio, said the web site was shut down Monday.

Mr. Lais said Mr. Palmer posted "false, misleading, disparaging
statements" about his handling of a child support case in which he
represented a California woman. "Mr. Palmer has chosen to trash me all
over the Internet," Mr. Lais said. Mr. Palmer rejected the charge,
saying what he wrote is protected by First Amendment rights.

In Ohio, the Supreme Court's disciplinary counsel has accused Mr. Palmer
of practicing law without a license by operating a web site that
proclaims "now offering free legal advice." A final decision rests with
the high court. State attorneys want the Supreme Court to require Mr.
Palmer to remove material that was on his web site under headings that
included: "The Truth About Free Legal Advice."

Mr. Palmer said he posted information on his web site about the
California Bar last year suspending Mr. Lais for two years after he was
accused of pursuing a frivolous case, filing another case in bad faith,
and failing to report a $10,000 sanction order.

Mr. Lais resigned with other charges pending in March. He has a firm
that provides "strategic and tactical input" to clients and attorneys
involved in child custody and visitation issues.

"How can I defame someone who doesn't have a [law] license?" Mr. Palmer
said.

Mr. Palmer yesterday said the firm that maintained his web site is based
in California and he will try to find another one.

Mr. Palmer also said he may take legal action in federal court, alleging
an infringement on his First Amendment rights.

Mr. Lais said those rights have a limit and the use of them are a
"developing area of freedom of speech."
http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2001111020039

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Created: Nov. 4, 2001
Last updated: October 14, 2005
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