Benton v. Commission of Lawyer Discipline, No. 13-94-221-CV

CourtCourt of Appeals of Texas
Writing for the CourtBefore SEERDEN; SEERDEN
Citation941 S.W.2d 229
PartiesBarry Robert BENTON, Appellant, v. COMMISSION OF LAWYER DISCIPLINE, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 13-94-221-CV
Decision Date21 November 1996

Page 229

941 S.W.2d 229
Barry Robert BENTON, Appellant,
v.
COMMISSION OF LAWYER DISCIPLINE, Appellee.
No. 13-94-221-CV.
Court of Appeals of Texas,
Corpus Christi.
Nov. 21, 1996.
Rehearing Overruled Feb. 6, 1997.

On appeal from the 107th District Court of Cameron County, Texas, Marion L. Lewis, J.

Barry R. Benton, Edmund K. Cyganiewicz, Brownsville, for appellant.

Dawn Miller, Assistant General Counsel, James M. McCormack, General Counsel, Austin, Dana C. Livingston, Vinson & Elkins, L.L.P., Daniel K. Hedges, Porter & Hedges, Warren W. Harris, Porter & Hedges, Houston, for appellee.

Prior report: 933 S.W.2d 784.

Before SEERDEN, C.J., and YANEZ and CHAVEZ, JJ.

CONCURRING OPINION ON MOTION FOR REHEARING

SEERDEN, Chief Justice.

I agree with the majority decision that the motion for rehearing should be overruled and this case should be reversed and dismissed. However, I disagree with the holding that Rule 3.06(d) is unconstitutionally vague. Without belaboring the point, it is anomalous to hold that the rule is too vague to be understood when appellant stipulated that he violated it.

Nevertheless, I would hold that the evidence in this case does not justify a finding that the purpose of the letter was to "merely harass or embarrass the juror." I would also hold that the provision prohibiting the attempt to influence the juror's actions in future jury service is unconstitutional in this case.

As to the sufficiency of the evidence to merely embarrass or harass, there is no evidence that appellant published the letter to anyone but the jurors, so it could not have embarrassed them to anyone. Because only one letter was sent, the action cannot be considered harassing. In addition, the letter expressed the attorney's opinion on the subject of "lawsuit abuse," an issue which was shown as being discussed publicly at the time of the trial. Certainly, the letter was insulting and accused the jurors of bad faith in reaching their verdict. Under the evidence, it also exceeded its authority by claiming that the trial judge "decided that your verdict was obviously unjust." While the letter might

Page 230

have been in bad taste and unprofessional, it did not "merely embarrass or harass" the jurors.

Appellant concedes that he was attempting to influence the jurors in future jury service. I would hold that it is unconstitutional to prohibit appellant from commenting on his view of the publicity campaign known as "lawsuit abuse" and its effect on the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
2 practice notes
  • Commission for Lawyer Discipline v. Benton, No. 97-0228
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • December 31, 1998
    ...and imposed a probated suspension. The court of appeals reversed on constitutional grounds and dismissed the action. 933 S.W.2d 784, 941 S.W.2d 229 (Seerden, C.J., concurring on motion for rehearing). We reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and remand the cause to the trial court fo......
  • Sanchez v. State, No. 04-96-00140-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • May 20, 1998
    ...no legitimate purpose. See Benton v. Comm'n of Lawyer Discipline, 933 S.W.2d 784, 787 (Tex.App.--Corpus Christi, 1996), reh'g overruled, 941 S.W.2d 229 (Tex.App.--Corpus Christi, 1997, no writ). "Harass" is used as a variety of legal contexts to describe words, gestures, and actio......
2 cases
  • Commission for Lawyer Discipline v. Benton, No. 97-0228
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • December 31, 1998
    ...and imposed a probated suspension. The court of appeals reversed on constitutional grounds and dismissed the action. 933 S.W.2d 784, 941 S.W.2d 229 (Seerden, C.J., concurring on motion for rehearing). We reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and remand the cause to the trial court fo......
  • Sanchez v. State, No. 04-96-00140-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • May 20, 1998
    ...no legitimate purpose. See Benton v. Comm'n of Lawyer Discipline, 933 S.W.2d 784, 787 (Tex.App.--Corpus Christi, 1996), reh'g overruled, 941 S.W.2d 229 (Tex.App.--Corpus Christi, 1997, no writ). "Harass" is used as a variety of legal contexts to describe words, gestures, and actions which t......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT