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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Lawyer Suspended for Inventing Racist Cop

(CN) - A New York lawyer will face six months of suspension for lying to get out of a speeding ticket and falsely claiming that the state trooper made anti-Semitic comments.

Eliott Dear, an orthodox Jew, was pulled over in July 2007 by a New Jersey state trooper and cited for allegedly driving 84 mph in a 55-mph zone.

Six days later, Dear wrote to the traffic court on his law firm's letterhead, accusing the trooper of calling him a "Jew kike."

After ducking an Internal Affairs investigator for two months, Dear finally gave a telephone interview and repeated his claims of anti-Semitic behavior. Dear also said the trooper had been dismissive when to his explanation for speeding: that his pregnant wife needed a bathroom.

Unknown to Dear, however, the trooper's car and uniform were rigged to videotape and audio record the stop, respectively. Neither of the recordings supported Dear's version of events.

After Internal Affairs cleared the trooper of wrongdoing, the state police lodged a complaint against Dear and revealed its recorded evidence.

Dear finally paid the $265 ticket more than a year after the traffic stop, and he later admitted that the trooper had not used an ethnic slur against him. A disciplinary committee for the New York appellate court's Manhattan-based first department made five charges against Dear, and the lawyer admitted to them.

A psychiatrist also testified that Dear suffered from "borderline personality disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder, major depression and narcissistic personality."

Dear also called three witnesses who talked about his character, integrity and honesty.

Though Dear asked for a censure or reprimand, the hearing panel recommended a six-month suspension, which the appellate division granted on Dec. 8.

"Respondent cavalierly attributed anti-Semitic slurs to an innocent person, which could have had devastating consequences to that person's career," the unsigned opinion states. "This act alone warrants a harsh sanction, not to mention that it was done to gain an advantage in an administrative proceeding."

"Notwithstanding the mitigating evidence and respondent's apparently sincere remorse, his behavior was reckless and reflects poorly on the bar. Under the circumstances, censure or admonition is simply too lenient a penalty," they added.

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