Professor Rotunda Comments on Ethics of Judge's Alleged Conduct

Professor Ronald Rotunda expressed concern over the legal ethics of alleged conduct by Judge George Moran Jr. after Moran was reported to have attended a ball game as a guest of  prominent  trial lawyer Stephen Tillery, who provided luxury box seating, food and an open bar for Moran's use.

Judge's alleged conduct raises more questions, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 5, 2006. By Paul Hampel.

"'For these two (Tillery and Moran) to be together in this kind of individual setting is trouble,' said Ronald D. Rotunda, a former University of Illinois law professor and co-author of a widely used law school textbook on legal ethics. 'There's a concern in this case about the objectivity of a judge when someone who often appears before him is giving him something of value above and beyond buying a cup of coffee; if you tried to pay for it, you'd findl a fancy stadium box for you and your date with food and drink included would have a fairly high value.'

Rotunda, now a professor at George Mason University in Virginia, said that state rules allowing judges to accept ordinary social hospitality were mean to apply 'to cases where, for example, the county bar association invites a judge to give a speech and then gives him dinner.

'That would be considered typical, social hospitality because it's a setting where there are many attorneys and where the bar association is not likely to be in litigation.

'But a luxury box setting goes above and beyond that, and that's why we have rules that forbid it.'"