The Times Picayune takes another look at Jefferson Parish Curatorships: There is a Rossie in the woodpile

Our new readers attracted here by our coverage of the unfolding Jefferson Parish Political corruption scandal may be scratching their heads wondering about this Rossie chap I occasionally speak of. Well wonder no more, David Rossmiller is an ethically challenged piece of crap lawyer from Portland Oregon who blogged on Weiss v Allstate  pretending to be impartial when in fact his law firm represented Allstate. I alluded to the fact, along with the Times Picayune’s James Gill that ol’ Rossie may just have a first cousin in New Orleans named Dane Ciolino. Obviously Ciolono’s quotes in Paul Pupura’s well done exploration of Jefferson Parish curatorship in Sunday’s Times Picayune did not directly bear on his representation of Tim Whitmer but you gotta wonder what he’d say if he wasn’t good ol’ Tim’s lawyer:

“There is no question that district judges have for many, many years appointed their friends and campaign contributors as curators for absentees,” said Dane Ciolino, a Loyola University Law School professor specializing in legal ethics. “This is true all over the state, not just in Jefferson.”

I wonder how many of those guys were also (supposedly) full-time Parish President’s serving the largest parish in the state in the aftermath of the largest natural disaster in US history hmmmm???

Now Dane as the nuns used to say when someone would get caught misbehaving in school and use the excuse “I did it because Johnny did it”:

Would you jump off the top of the empire state building if Johnny did it?

As they say on ESPN, Come On Dane. Relativism in legal ethics must be that new law Rossie kept yakking about. Jeeze louise will somebody shut this guy up? Please.


15 thoughts on “The Times Picayune takes another look at Jefferson Parish Curatorships: There is a Rossie in the woodpile”

  1. Love your site, even when you skewer me.

    To answer your question, I would have said the same thing even if I never represented Tim Whitmer (who, by the way, has never been a lawyer or a curator). I made a descriptive statement not a normative judgment. When the weather man says “its raining” it doesn’t mean that he thinks rain is good or bad; he just means that it’s raining.

    In any event, I have long advocated for adopting the ABA’s anti-pay-to-play rules that would go part of the way toward addressing the problems with Louisiana curatorship appointments. The LSBA, however, has avoided the issue as too controversial.

    Keep plugging away and I’ll keep enjoying the read……


  2. Dane Ciolino says: “I made a descriptive statement not a normative judgment.” That is lawyer speak for: “I can spin any issue based upon who’s paying me.” You know what’s really going on with these curatorships, so go ahead and stand in front of the camera like a man and say it. Stop it with the lawyer B.S.

    Dane, have you ever been the lead counsel in a jury case in Louisiana? If so, please provide the case cite(s).

  3. Whitmer is not the only ethically challenged pol Prof. Ciolino has defended. It is something to hear him attributed as an “ethical expert” only to read/hear him the next day walking into a committee hearing and justifying every ethical transgression imaginable, which he has done.

    Ciolino is an example of what’s wrong with Louisiana ethics: there is no conflict of interest, there is no understanding of the appearance of it, and there is almost no penalty for being unethical, especially when you have the good Professor in the house.

    Professor, find your soul and stop defending and start prosecuting, Louisiana and New Orleans hardly need you telling us one more time why our politics are “not unethical”. Sure they’re not.

  4. Here’s a good quote from a past TP article from the good professor about mose Jefferson: >”People just don’t give $140,000 to their friends to help them out. That just doesn’t happen,” said Loyola Law School professor Dane Ciolino.<

    Hey I agree.

    So when Julie Murphy got snuck in as a "consultant" on the Redflex traffic camera program, which ended up making $20 million with a secret % cut going to the consultants, was that a friend just beeing "helped out" or was that a wife of a judge who's granted HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of dollars to his political buddy and former law partner who happens to be the same guy who happened to be able to sway the JP Council on just about anything he damn well pleased?

    Quid pro quo means what, exactly? People regularly helping each other out to the tune of millions but none of that ever really having any connection with each other? Is that the defense?

    No, wait, that's called a syndicate, just sort of an organization engaging in a pattern of something or other, right? Does the professor know a legal term for that?

  5. To state it mildly, Mr. Ciolino is ethically challenged. He and others like him who use legalese to parse their sophomoric reasoning and relative rationalization are one of the root causes of the continuing moral decay within the legal profession. I am in dismay at the thought that he teaches ethics at a law school. Mr. Ciolino made a choice and he made a poor one choosing to represent Mr. Whitmer considering his professorial and media consulting status. Yes, I know, everyone may be entitled to a lawyer; however a lawyer, as in these circumstances, is not obligated to represent the prospective client. I know many criminal defense lawyers who have refused to represent rapists and child molesters regardless of the amount of the fee, or for that matter by way of an attempted court appointment for an indigent defendant. I know this may come as a shock to Mr. Ciolino and others of his ilk, but their are some lawyers who are guided with a moral compass. If Mr. Ciolino is truly blinded by his grey vision of events such as the shameful way in which these curatorships were appointed and are being appointed, we are in more trouble than we realize. We will be at the mercy of future lawyers taught by him ! Mr. Ciolino, I suggest you look in the mirror and own up like a man: YOU DID IT FOR THE MONEY, and not some cock-eyed due process argument Mr. Broussard tried to stone-wall not firing Mr. Whitmer with. Period. Please refrain from further insulting us who have common sense with the mumbo-jumbo crap you disturbingly believe What these judges have done and are doing is not right, and unfortunately you can’t grasp it. God help us because you can’t.

  6. Oh, and Mr. Ciolino, there is an observation I like to share with you in particular: The more legal fees you earn representing the Whitmer’s of this world to further insure your financial solvency, the more morally bankrupt you become in facing the next. Get my drift ? And to think you teach at a religious school. But then again that den of inequity is most probably deserving of your rather dubious concept of ethics.

  7. Telemachus and whitmergate are right on. Ciolino has not been forced to represent Whitmer, so it’s not the situation wherein a public defender is forced to represent scum he/she otherwise would refuse to represent.

    One thing I would bet my bottom dollar on, if Whitmer elects to go to trial, Ciolino won’t be the guy talking to the jury on Whitmer’s behalf. It is relatively simple, as whitmergate points out; Ciolino teaches impressionable law students about ethics, but then goes out and represents one of the most unethical defendants one can find. He’s just a guy who loves to see his mug on TV and be called “professor” and/or “expert.” Beyond that, he appears to be the kind of lawyer who never gets his nose or knuckles bloodied in a courtroom. Maybe all of this should be brought to the attention of Loyola in a more emphatic fashion.

  8. Checking in on a busy day. The commenters have well shared the offline sentiment we’re hearing from the legal community. That said on second thought it was a tad strong of me to equate Mr Ciolino with David Rossmiller. So my post is clear the story’s topic and his representation of Tim Whitmer is not the same thing Rossie that did during Weiss.

    Honest services is a legal concept which we’ve learned a good bit about here on Slabbed and given the upheaval at DoJ on that topic and pending rulings at the USSC it is possible the double dealing is not a crime no matter how sleazy the double dealer. We’ll see what Letten has up his sleeve.


  9. Frankly, Mr. Ciolino’s representation of WHITMER is just one small piece of the puzzle concerning Mr. Ciolino’s thought process or lack thereof. It is his cumulative actions and statements to date that summarize his questionable judgment concerning matters of an ethical concern. My opinions of Mr. Ciolino are in no way based on anything concerning David Rossmiller, whoever he is.

    1. I’m good fine with that Whitmergate and what you say jives with the prevailing sentiment in the legal community in NOLA. Rossie is a moneygrubber about on par with Dickie Scruggs. He is also my special beetch and unlike Ciolino does not have the balls to come on here though he reads us.


  10. (posting anon reader comment from the “contact” email)

    One other approach that was probably taken here was that Whitmer’s real defense lawyers had him hire Ciolino more to stop Ciolino from commenting on this in the news against him. You pay Ciolino, he now can’t comment on it. I don’t think the plan was to have him comment at all. The bonus is that Ciolino couldn’t help himself, and went on the air anyway to try to spin the episode as merely and ETHICS issue. If you see his comments they were very deliberate in keeping them in the ethics realm, and that Whitmer would resolve any ethical violations involved. He underestimated the situation, he couldn’t spin it, and it backfired on him.

  11. If I had known bring Dane on would elicit such a reaction we would have contacted him back in December 2007.

    I knew the man was controversial but I had no idea the extent.


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