A judge who asked a complainant in a rape trial why she couldn’t just keep her knees together has resigned, hours after the disciplinary body for Canadian judges recommended that he be removed from the bench.
In a brief statement on Thursday, federal court justice Robin Camp submitted his resignation over his behaviour while presiding over a 2014 trial into allegations of sexual assault. “I would like to express my sincere apology to everyone who was hurt by my comments,” he added.
The Calgary trial made headlines around the world after it emerged that Camp had repeatedly asked the 19-year-old complainant why she had not done more to prevent the alleged rape. “Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?” Camp asked her. Later he told her that “sex and pain sometimes go together”.
I’ve witnessed an attorney stating, “If you would’ve kept your legs closed you wouldn’t be in this situation.” This was during a marital dissolution/custody case meeting with a friend and her abusive attorney. This attorney continues to practice to this day, even though complaints were filed with the Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board & Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility with local media notified. Self-censorship of the media has kept stories of attorney and judicial abuse buried for years.
The power and control wheel for the lawyer-client relationship is adapted, with permission, from the wheel diagram of Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, http://www.TheDuluthModel.org, developed by formerly battered women to describe their experiences. The lawyer-client wheel diagram illustrates forms of abuse and psychological assault that may be inflicted on clients by their lawyers. Psychological assault is a criminal offense in law.
Power and Control: Lawyer-Client Relationship
Abuse and Psychological Assault
Using Coercion and Threats
Making or carrying out threats to do something to harm the client • threatening to withdraw as counsel of record on the client’s case • threatening to commit incompetent or unethical practice by violating the State Bar disciplinary rules of professional conduct • threatening to request the court to order a psychological evaluation of the client without just reason • ambushing and railroading the client to prevent informed decisions • exaggerating the harmful outcomes to the client • pressuring the client to accept a plea deal offer • pressuring the client to do illegal things.
Using Terrorism and Assault
Making the client afraid by using looks, tones, demeanors, gestures, actions • staging temper tantrums • violating rules of politesse; rules of orderly, fair meetings; and the State Bar ethics code • displaying weapons or other objects or images of violence • terrorizing the client • sadistically manipulating the client • psychologically assaulting the client.
Using Emotional Abuse
Putting the client down • making the client feel bad about herself or himself • calling the client names • making the client think she or he is crazy • playing mind games • humiliating the client • making the client feel guilty.
Using Isolation and Guilt
Isolating the client and forbidding client to consult with other lawyers without permission • using presumed guilt or suspicion of guilt of client to justify abuse • using private meetings instead of telephone, mail and email communications • refusing to state the purpose of meetings.
Minimizing, Denying and Blaming
Making light of the abuse and not taking client’s concerns about it seriously • saying the abuse didn’t happen • shifting responsibility for abusive behavior • saying the client caused the abuse.
Using Information Abuse
Misrepresenting the experience and specialized knowledge of the lawyer • using asymmetric information to mislead the client • preventing client from seeing all the evidence • providing insufficient information for client to make an informed decision • using misrepresentation, double-talk, stonewalling and obfuscation to prevent informed decisions • not informing the client about public access to the case file at the Court house • refusing to communicate, explain and clarify in writing • failing to disclose State Bar ethics rules existence and contact information.
Using Attorney Privilege
Acting like the boss • treating the client like a servant • making the big decisions • ignoring client’s instructions, decisions and best interests • failing to get client’s consent • being the one to define lawyers’ and clients’ roles • not writing a fee contract • preventing preview of contract before signing • making unilateral changes to contract after initial agreement • using vague, ambiguous, ineffective language that protects the lawyer but not the client • refusing arbitration.
Using Economy Abuse
Making the client pay more money • not refunding client’s money if not used for the stipulated purpose or if not earned • using bait-and-switch tactics after receiving advance fee payment.
Adapted and reprinted with permission from Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, 202 E. Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55802, 218-722-2781, www.theduluthmodel.org.
Power and Control Wheel for Lawyers and Clients is available for downloading, reprinting and distributing.
Download: Power & Control Wheel for Lawyers & Clients (PDF)