Attorney’s Comments about the Virginia Supreme Court,  Smith v. Commonwealth (amicus) 

Attorney William Crane was representing a client in the circuit court when the judge asked him about the Virginia Supreme Court’s ruling in a prior appeal of the case.  Crane told the judge that the court had failed to rule on a particular issue, adding, “They didn’t have the guts to handle it.”  The case was later appealed again to the Virginia Supreme Court.  The court, noticing this exchange in the transcript ordered Crane to show cause why his license should not be suspended or revoked.   The court cited the preamble to the Rules of Professional Conduct, which state that attorneys should be respectful toward the court.  On August 16, 2010, we filed an amicus brief on behalf of Crane, arguing that punishing him for a violation of the preamble would violate his rights under the due process clause and the first amendment.  The Supreme Court held a hearing on September 16, 2010 and on that day dismissed the rule to show cause.

Court Documents (click link to view .pdf)
Brief Amicus Curiae- Virginia Supreme Court


Rebecca Glenberg, ACLU of Virginia

Date filed

August 16, 2010


Virginia Supreme Court