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Calling the witness a liar during closing argument: the Florida Supreme Court's final approval.

This article addresses the Florida Supreme Court's resolution of the issue of whether a party may refer to a witness as a "liar" during closing argument in a trial. Until recently, there has been a divergence in the district courts of appeal as to whether a lawyer may refer to a witness as a "liar" during closing argument. Courts addressing this issue, however, have uniformly agreed that the purpose of closing argument is to facilitate the jury's proper analysis of the evidence so that it may arrive at a just conclusion based solely upon the evidence in the record.(1)

Moreover, whether in criminal or civil trials, courts have applied Rule 4-3.4 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar prohibiting an attorney from stating a personal opinion as to the credibility of a witness during closing argument.(2) Yet, the appellate courts wavered in their opinions as to whether characterizing a witness as a "liar" constituted an ethically improper personal opinion or whether it was a permissible comment on the credibility of a witness, when supported by record evidence. The Florida Supreme Court resolved this issue in deciding Murphy v. International Robotics Systems, Inc., 766 So. 2d 1010 (Fla. 2000).

Prior Florida Appellate Decisions

Until Murphy, the ability to refer to a witness as a "liar" in closing has been dependent upon the appellate district and the specific point in time in which, the civil case was tried. The divisiveness existed primarily because formidable arguments have been available on both sides of this issue. For example, the Fourth District Court of Appeal adopted a bright-line rule that calling a witness a "liar" during closing argument was grounds for reversal. Illustrative of this position is Pier 66 Co. v. Poulos, 542 So. 2d 377, 380 (Fla. 4th DCA 1989). During closing argument, the plaintiffs lawyer repeatedly expressed his opinion that the defendants were "liars."

The court held that "such comments were improper, as they went far beyond simply asking the jury to consider whether they believed the witnesses' testimony and added to the risk of prejudice affecting the verdict."(3)

Likewise, this same approach was echoed 11 years later in King v. National Security Fire & Casualty Co., 656 So. 2d 1335 (Fla. 4th DCA 1995),(4) in which the court stated, "[W]e do not condone the objectionable comments made by appellee's counsel and caution the parties that it is improper to impugn the integrity of a witness by calling him or her a `liar.'"(5) Yet in Goutis v. Express Transport Inc., 699 So. 2d 757 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997),(6) the court clearly receded from this position. In Goutis, the attorney argued during closing, "The evidence is absolutely lacking in this case to support those opinions of Mr. Kreft [appellees' expert]. They are pure groundless speculation."(7) Although the attorney did not specifically characterize the witness as a "liar," the Fourth District Court of Appeal gratuitously observed "it is permissible for an attorney to comment on the credibility of a witness, for example by calling the witness a liar, when it is with reference to the testimony given and the attorney is merely drawing a conclusion from the evidence."(8)

The Second District Court of Appeal loosely broached this issue in Murphy v. Murphy, 622 So. 2d 99 (Fla. 2d DCA 1993), when the court observed that, among other things, counsel's closing argument was unquestionably improper and highly prejudicial when he referred to a witness as a "liar, a sneak, and a thief."

Until recently, the Third District Court of Appeal seemed to be in accord with the decisions prohibiting counsel from arguing a witness is a "liar."(9) For example, during closing argument in Kaas v. Atlas Chemical Co., 623 So. 2d 525 (Fla. 3d DCA 1993), counsel stated to the jury: "I can prove that that guy is a liar on this issue because, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, take a look at this .... That's a lie."(10) The court observed, "There is no question but that counsel is permitted to demonstrate inconsistencies between witnesses' testimony and within a witness' own testimony. But lines have been drawn as to what constitutes proper comment and what is egregious."(11) As a result, the court held that "it is fundamentally incorrect for counsel to attempt to impugn the integrity of a witness by calling him a liar" and reversed the case for a new trial.(12) Yet, if the standard in the Fourth District did not seem inconsistent enough, the Third District failed to ameliorate the confusion when it subsequently and surprisingly stated that Kaas did not "flatly prohibit[ ] the use of the word `liar' under any circumstances."(13)

The court's professed clarification of Kaas and its departure from its sister courts' earlier decisions are underscored in Forman v. Wallshein, 671 So. 2d 872 (Fla. 3d DCA 1996). In Forman, the court stated that there was ample evidence to dispute plaintiffs credibility and thus defense counsel could properly refer to plaintiff as a "liar" in closing argument because 1) plaintiff testified he could no longer perform certain work duties as the result of an automobile accident, but 2) his employer testified he had never heard of the automobile accident or injury until subpoenaed as a witness, and 3) plaintiff's response to physical tests were inconsistent with the type of injury he claimed, and 4) on an insurance application, two years after the accident, the plaintiff failed to disclose the existence of the injury and continuing treatment from the accident. On this record, the court held counsel may, in closing argument in a civil case, "refer to the opposing party as a `liar' where there is a basis in the evidence to do so."(14)

Hence, the courts' inconsistent and nebulous treatment of this issue partially contributed to Florida's current "closing argument crisis" of which appellate judges, ironically, have voiced numerous complaints.(15)

Florida Supreme Court's Resolution in Murphy

In Murphy v. International Robotics Systems, Inc., 766 So. 2d 1010 (Fla. 2000), the Florida Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether calling a witness a "liar" constitutes improper closing argument in a civil case.(16) In Murphy, defense counsel accused the individual plaintiff of wanting to "cash in a lottery ticket in this litigation," and suggested that if the jurors awarded the plaintiff damages based on a "phony consultancy agreement" they would be "accessories, after the fact, to tax fraud."(17) In its decision, the Supreme Court sought to clarify how ethical Rule 4-3.4 should be interpreted. In doing so, the court primarily relied upon its prior ruling in Craig v. State, 510 So. 2d 857 (Fla. 1987). In that case, the appellant argued that the prosecutor improperly made repeated references to defendant's testimony as being untruthful and to the defendant himself as being a "liar." The court responded, "It may be true that the prosecutor used language that was somewhat intemperate but we do not believe he exceeded the bounds of proper argument in view of the evidence." The court in Craig reasoned that,

[w]hen counsel refers to a witness or a defendant as being a "liar," and it is understood from the context that the charge is made with reference to testimony given by the person thus characterized, the prosecutor is merely submitting to the jury a conclusion that he is arguing can be drawn from the evidence. It was for the jury to decide what evidence and testimony was worthy of belief and the prosecutor was merely submitting his view of the evidence to them for consideration.(18)

As a result, the court in Murphy held it is not ethically or legally improper for counsel to state during closing argument that a witness "lied" or is a "liar," provided such characterizations are supported by the record.(19)

Is There a Minimal "Record Support" Requirement?

The first reported case to follow Murphy on this issue is the Third District

Court of Appeal decision in Pino v. State. No. 3D99-3015, 2001 WL 98693 (Fla. 3d DCA Feb. 7, 2001). In that case, the prosecutor, during closing argument, stated that the defendant was a "liar," that the defendant had told "lies," and that the defendant had "lied."(20) The court found that the comments were proper because the record supported the prosecutor's characterizations of the defendant.(21) Unlike its prior decision in Forman, the court did not delineate examples of such characterizations supported by the record. As a result, Florida courts have not narrowly defined the minimum sufficient record evidence necessary to question a witness' credibility either before or after Murphy. For example, throughout hundreds of pages of trial testimony would one inconsistency in a witness' testimony provide sufficient "record evidence" to brand a witness as a "liar" during closing argument? Logically, the answer should be "yes." Yet, during any trial, multiple witnesses are likely to be impeached at least one time. Does Murphy suggest advocacy may properly be reduced to the level in which both parties characterize each other's witnesses as "liars," such that in the end, the characterization has virtually no meaning? Either way, this raises a point not expressed by the court in Murphy: Merely because a witness may be called a "liar" does not mean it is always tactically desirable for counsel to do so. In spite of Murphy's approval, some jurors may find characterizing a witness as a "liar" both harsh and offensive.(22) Moreover, courts have not provided a blanket approval for calling a witness a "liar" during summation under all circumstances. This disinclination is exemplified when courts examine the issue in the criminal context.

Murphy's Application to Criminal Trials

The Florida Supreme Court's decision in Craig was not intended to globally condone calling a witness a "liar" during closing argument under any and all circumstances. For example, in Brown v. State, 678 So. 2d 910 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996), the court crafted its approval in characterizing a witness as a liar "so long as counsel relates the argument solely to the testimony of the witnesses and evidence in the record."(23) The implication of this limitation can be seen by the Florida Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Gore v. State, 719 So. 2d 1197 (Fla. 1998). In Gore, the prosecutor argued, "If you believe the [defendant's] story, he's not guilty. If you believe he's lying to you, he's guilty. It's that simple." The court responded that the prosecutor "enunciated an erroneous and misleading statement of the State's burden of proof" by asking the jury to assess whether the defendant was lying as the test by which to prove his guilt instead of proving the essential elements of the crime beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt.(24) The court held this argument was clearly impermissible as it was merely an exhortation to the jury to convict the defendant "if it found he did not tell the truth."(25)

Analogously, in Ruiz v. State, 743 So. 2d 1 (Fla. 1999), the prosecutor stated during closing argument, "I can't even think of a way it isn't enough to give you an abiding conviction of guilt, an overwhelming conviction of guilt. ... If that guy were Pinocchio, his nose would be so big none of us would be able to fit in this courtroom on what he said [up] there. ... Truth equals justice."(26) The Florida Supreme Court rejected the contention that this argument was permissible under Craig. The court reasoned that by "characterizing Ruiz as `Pinocchio' and then telling the jury that `truth equals justice' and `justice is that you convict him,'" the prosecutor told the jury to convict Ruiz of first-degree murder "because he is a liar."(27) Hence, asking a jury to equate lying with a conviction of guilt improperly misleads the jury by articulating an erroneous burden of proof.

The application of Gore and Ruiz to civil trials should equally prohibit an attorney from inviting a jury, during closing argument, to find a verdict against a party merely because he is shown to be lying. For example, stating, "The plaintiff lied. Justice requires she recovers nothing," should analogously be prohibited. Therefore, lawyers must be cautioned that when calling a witness a "liar" during closing argument, they must relate this characterization solely to the testimony of witnesses and the evidence in the record and not as the burden of proof for imposing a verdict.

Murphy Compared to State and Federal Decisions

Judicial precedent for resolving the propriety of calling a witness a "liar" during closing argument in civil and criminal trials is not bountiful in either the state or federal courts. A majority of the U.S. courts that have resolved the issue have done so consistent with Murphy during civil or criminal trials, and they provide guidance in identifying closing arguments that have received appellate approval.(28)

Although the Florida federal district courts have not squarely addressed this issue, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals held in Chandler v. Moore, 240 F.3d 907 (11th Cir. 2001), that a prosecutor accurately referred to a witness as "the biggest liar in Indian River County" because "the witness told four different stories."(29)

Similarly, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals stated in United States v. Durham, 211 F.3d 437,440 (7th Cir. 2000), that, "Because of his inconsistent trial testimony and evidence of his drug activity, we conclude that the prosecutor's comments describing [the defendant] as a `liar' ... were reasonably inferable from the evidence presented at trial and thus, were not improper." The boldest reason for approving this type of argument was ably expressed in United States v. Dean, 55 F.3d 640,665 (D.C. Cir. 1995), in which the court stated, "`Lies' and `lying' are hard words. But this was closing argument, not a polite social conversation."(30)

Illustrative of jurisdictions which disapprove of Murphy is Combined Communications Corp. Inc., v. Public Service Company of Colorado, 865 P. 2d 893, 899 (Colo. Ct. App. 1993), when the Colorado appellate court held that counsel's reference to witnesses as having lied was an impermissible expression of personal opinion. Even more emphatic is the language in Olenin v. Curtin & Johnson, Inc., 424 F. 2d 769, 769 (D.C. Cir. 1968), in which the court stated in a personal injury action, "It is unprofessional conduct, meriting discipline by the court, for counsel either to vouch for his own witnesses or to categorize opposing witnesses as `liars'; that issue is for the jury." The Olenin court recommended immediate disciplinary action for such "unlawyerly like" conduct. Id.(31) The North Dakota Supreme Court echoed this reasoning in Fox v. Bellon, 136 N.W. 2d 134 (N.D. 1965). In that case, the court stated, "Counsel in his argument ha[s] the right to analyze the testimony and the exhibits and to point out to the jury any reason or reasons why he thought the witness was not worthy of belief; however ... he should [not] be permitted, in so many words, to state that the opposing party is a `liar,' a `pathological liar,' and a `crook.'"(32)

The latter decisions are comparatively dated in imposing the draconian sanction of reversal for characterizing a witness as a "liar." As a result, even though state and federal courts remain divided on this issue, the Florida Supreme Court has aligned itself with the progressive national trend to permit counsel to characterize a witness as a "liar," so long as it is supported by record evidence.

Conclusion

The Supreme Court's decision in Murphy clearly resolved the inconsistencies among the district courts of appeal. Additionally, it may have quelled a fragment of the closing argument crisis in Florida. By requiring record evidence in order to call a witness a "liar," attorneys will not violate the axiomatic ethical rule forbidding personal opinions in closing argument. However, counsel must not characterize a witness as a "liar" as the standard by which a jury should impose a verdict. To do so would erroneously mislead the jury as to a party's burden of proof.

(1) See, e.g., Riggins v. Mariner Boat Works, Inc., 545 So. 2d 430 (Fla. 2d D.C.A. 1989); Hill v. State, 515 So. 2d 176, 178 (Fla. 1987).

(2) Rule 4-3.4 states: "A lawyer shall not ... in trial, allude to any matter that the lawyer does not reasonably believe is relevant or that will not be supported by admissible evidence, assert personal knowledge of facts in issue except when testifying as a witness, or state a personal opinion as to the justness of a cause, the credibility of a witness, the culpability of a civil litigant, or the guilt or innocence of an accused."

As stated by the court in Murphy, "The underpinnings of this rule are well-founded." First, it prevents lawyers from placing their own credibility at issue in a case. Second, it also limits the possibility that the jury may decide a case based on nonrecord evidence. See Murphy v. International Robotics Systems, Inc., 766 So. 2d 1010, 1028 (Fla. 2000) (citing Davis v. South Florida Water Management Dist., 715 So. 2d 996, 999 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 1998); and Forman v. Wallshein, 671 So. 2d 872, 875 (Fla. 3d D.C.A. 1996)); see also Sacred Heart Hosp. of Pensacola v. Stone, 650 So. 2d 676 (Fla. 1st D.C.A. 1995) (stating that counsel's reference to witnesses' testimony as "ridiculous" improperly referred to matters not in evidence and constituted personal opinions); Walt Disney World Co. v. Blalock, 640 So. 2d 1156 (Fla. 5th D.C.A. 1994) (holding plaintiffs reference to inadmissible evidence, such as the "outrageousness" of defendant asserting contributory negligence, improperly expressed personal opinions of counsel); Bloch v. Addis, 493 So. 2d 539 (Fla. 3d D.C.A. 1986) (holding it was improper for counsel to reveal telephone conversations he had with plaintiffs expert, when not admitted as evidence, thus constituting a personal opinion of the cause).

(3) Pier 66 Co., 542 So. 2d at 380.

(4) This opinion was expressly disapproved in Murphy v. International Robotics Systems, Inc., 766 So. 2d 1010 (Fla. 2000). The court stated, "We disapprove King v. National Security Fire & Casualty Co., 656 So. 2d 1335, 1337 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 1995), to the extent that it stands for the proposition that counsel may not use the terms `liar' or `lied' regarding a witness when there is record support to question the witness' credibility." Id. at 1028.

(5) King, 656 So. 2d at 1338; see also Seguin v. Hauser Motor Co., 350 So. 2d 1089,1090 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 1977) (holding where counsel stated, "If I lie to you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, they would take my license away, and the practice of law and justice means too much to me and I tell you this: Yes, Mr. Berrie was telling the truth. He told me that," was an expression by defense counsel of his personal opinion as to the credibility of the witness, and was resultantly improper).

(6) This decision was disapproved of on other grounds by Murphy v. International Robotics Systems, Inc., 766 So. 2d 1010 (Fla. 2000).

(7) Goutis, 699 So. 2d at 764.

(8) Id. (emphasis in original) (citing Craig v. State, 510 So. 2d 857, 865 (Fla.1987); Forman v. Wallshein, 671 So. 2d 872, 874 (Fla. 3d D.C.A. 1996)).

(9) See, e.g., Davies v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., 632 So. 2d 525 (Fla. 3d D.C.A. 1994) (holding counsel improperly expressed his opinion as to the credibility of a witness); Kendall Skating Centers, Inc. v. Martin, 448 So. 2d 1137 (Fla. 3d D.C.A. 1984) (reversal required where plaintiffs closing argument characterized defendants as "despicable" and asserted that both they and their lawyers were "liars").

(10) Kaas, 623 So. 2d at 525.

(11) Id. at 525. The court relied upon Hernandez v. State, 156 Fla. 356, 22 So. 2d 781 (Fla. 1945), where the Florida Supreme Court held that it was improper for an attorney to suggest to a jury that a witness was committing perjury.

(12) Kaas, 623 So. 2d at 526.

(13) Forman v. Wallshein, 671 So. 2d 872 (Fla. 3d D.C.A. 1996).

(14) Id. at 872. The court in Forman relied upon Watkins v. Sims, 81 Fla. 730, 88 So. 764, 767 (1921), for the proposition, "It is not proper to attack the credibility of a party to a suit, who testifies in his own behalf, unless such comment is based on facts appearing in the evidence, or unless it can be deduced from the witness' appearance and conduct while giving his testimony." The court mysteriously, and for some inexplicable reason, abandoned its prior reliance upon Hernandez v. State, 156 Fla. 356, 22 So. 2d 781 (Fla. 1945), three years earlier in Kaas v. Atlas Chemical Co., 623 So. 2d 525 (Fla. 3d DCA 1993), for the contrary proposition.

(15) See, e.g., Murphy v. International Robotics Systems Inc., 710 So. 2d 587 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 1998) (observing, "It seems as though, in every week in which we sit, we get at least one appeal in which we are asked to reverse because of improper ... closing argument of counsel."); Hammond v. Mulligan, 667 So. 2d 854 (Fla. 5th D.C.A. 1996) (observing, "Why the problem of [improper closing argument] persists is an academic question deserving of consideration."); Olbek v. Kraut, 650 So. 2d 1138 (Fla. 5th D.C.A. 1995) (observing, "In reviewing opinions issued within the last two years, I counted 14 discrete types of improper argument."); Silva v. Nightingale, 614 So. 2d 4 (Fla. 5th D.C.A. 1993) (stating "improper comments made by counsel for both plaintiffs and defendants, especially in trials involving personal injuries, are arising as points on appeal with alarming and increasing frequency."); Blue Grass Shoes., v. Collins, 614 So. 2d 626 (Fla. 5th D.C.A. 1993) (noting that, "There are legions of cases condemning [closing] arguments similar to the one made by appellees."); see also Gary D. Fox, Objectionable Closing Argument; Causes And Solutions 70 FLA. B.J. 43 (Dec. 1996) (noting, "With increasing frequency, trial lawyers are making closing arguments perceived by the trial and appellate courts to be sufficiently pernicious to require new trials.").

(16) The court primarily resolved the issue as to whether improper, but unobjected-to, closing argument of counsel could be raised for first time on appeal in civil cases.

(17) See Murphy v. International Robotics Systems, Inc., 710 So. 2d 587, 588 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 1998).

(18) Craig, 510 So. 2d at 864. See also Brown v. State, 678 So. 2d 910, 912 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 1996) ("It is clearly not improper for either counsel in closing argument to characterize specific witnesses as liars, so long as counsel relates the argument solely to the testimony of the witnesses and evidence in the record."); Redish v. State, 525 So. 2d 928, 929 (Fla. 1st D.C.A. 1988) (recognizing that a prosecutor properly stated "the defendant had lied during his testimony" when the jury was clearly faced with two different versions of the same event and, therefore, the evidence supported such a conclusion); Irving v. State, 627 So. 2d 92, 93 (Fla. 3d D.C.A. 1993) (stating that the prosecutor "merely submitted a conclusion which could be drawn from the evidence when he accused the defendant of lying."); Davis v. State, 698 So. 2d 1182, 1190 (Fla. 1997)(holding prosecutor properly referred to certain statements in defendant's taped confessions as "bald-faced lies" when it is understood from the context of the argument that it is made with reference to the evidence); Perry v. State, 718 So. 2d 1258, 1260 (Fla. 1st D.C.A. 1998) (stating, "It is well settled that prosecutorial comments, such as using the word `lie,' when commenting on appellant's testimony, or characterizing the words of appellant as not those of an `innocent man' when commenting on the verbal statement to an investigating police officer as set forth in the testimony by that officer and other eyewitnesses, and not denied by appellant on the stand, are not improper.").

(19) Murphy, 766 So. 2d at 1028.

(20) Pino v. State. No. 3D99-3015, 2001 WL 98693 at *2 (Fla. 3d D.C.A. Feb. 7, 2001).

(21) Id.

(22) See Joseph F. Anderson, The Lost Art: An Advocate's Guide To Effective Closing Argument, 10 S.C. LAW. 26, 28 (1998) (stating "it is generally preferable to suggest to a jury that a witness is mistaken or has a faulty memory instead of stating the witness is a `liar' [because] [t]he term `liar' itself is offensive to many.").

(23) Brown, 678 So. 2d at 912 (emphasis added).

(24) Gore, 719 So. 2d at 1200; see also Henderson v. State, 727 So. 2d 284, 285 (Fla. 2d D.C.A. 1999), rev'd on other grounds, Washington v. State, 752 So. 2d 16 (Fla. 2d D.C.A. 2000) (holding prosecutor's comment improper when he stated, "It comes down to this, folks. If you believe what he said on that witness stand, check not guilty. Let him go. But that will mean that [the witnesses] are all a pack of liars," as improperly shifting the burden of proof).

(25) Gore, 719 So. 2d at 1201.

(26) Ruiz, 743 So. 2d at 5 (alteration in original).

(27) Id.

(28) Murphy resolved this issue for civil cases. The issue had been resolved for criminal cases in Craig v. State, 510 So. 2d 857, 865 (Fla. 1987) (holding that a prosecutor's closing argument remarks characterizing the defendant as being a "liar" were not improper in view of the record evidence).

(29) See e.g., United States v. Jacoby, 955 F. 2d 1527, 1540-41 (11th Cir. 1992); Bradford v. Whitley, 953 F.2d 1008, 1013 (5th Cir. 1991); United States v. Peterson, 808 F.2d 969, 977 (2d Cir. 1987). Similarly, the Supreme Court of Delaware observed: "Statements that a defendant is a `liar,' or is `guilty,' or that a state's witness is `truthful,' without directly connecting those statements to evidence before the jury, are likely to be characterized by an appellate court as personal opinion." Trump v. State, 753 A.2d 963 (Del. 2000).

(30) The court also noted that the prosecutor "could have told the jury that the evidence proved Dean had been `untruthful,' or that she `fabricated her testimony,' or `prevaricated,' or that she `bore false witness,' `made up her story,' `is not to be believed,' `violated her oath.' These and many other words and phrases would have conveyed the same idea as `lie' and `lying,' perhaps not as forcefully, or, depending on the prosecutor's rhetorical skill, perhaps more forcefully. Still, is there any reason in law why the words `lie' and `lying' should be banned from the vocabulary of summation, particularly in cases that turn on the defendant's credibility?" United States v. Dean, 55 F.3d 640,665 (D.C. Cir. 1995); see also Robert W. Clifford, Identifying and Preventing Improper Prosecutorial Comment in Closing Argument, 51 MAINE L. REV. 242,247 (1999).

(31) This type of sanction is completely consistent with Florida law. See Olbek v. Kraut, 650 So. 2d 1138 (Fla. 5th D.C.A. 1995) (stating: "[W]here counsel's conduct violates the code of professional responsibility, the trial judge should take appropriate measures to prevent such conduct."). In fact, the Third District Court of Appeal took it upon itself to do just that. See Borden v. Young, 479 So. 2d 850, 851 n.1 (Fla. 3d D.C.A. 1985) (stating: "By the transmission of a copy of this opinion to The Florida Bar, we call its attention, pursuant to Integration Rule 11.14(9), to the likelihood that the conduct of these lawyers in the trial below of case no. 77-28310, Dade County Circuit Court, was in violation of DR 7106(C)(1),(3),(4),(6), Code of Professional Responsibility.").

(32) Fox, 136 N.W. 2d at 141.

Craig Lee Montz is a visiting professor and lecturer at the University of Miami School of Law. He teaches litigation skills and trial objections. Mr. Montz was previously a civil litigator for 11 years. He graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 1985.

This column is submitted on behalf of the Trial Lawyers Section, Thomas P. Scarritt, Jr., chair, and Thomas P. Barber, editor.
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Date:Oct 1, 2001
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