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MINNESOTA COURT RULES

PROFESSIONAL RULES

Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct

Rule 3.5Impartiality and Decorum of the Tribunal

(a)

Before the trial of a case, a lawyer connected therewith shall not, except in the course of official proceedings, communicate with or cause another to communicate with anyone the lawyer knows to be a member of the venire from which the jury will be selected for the trial of the case.

(b)

During the trial of the case:

(1) a lawyer connected therewith shall not, except in the course of official proceedings, communicate with or cause another to communicate with any member of the jury.

(2) a lawyer who is not connected therewith shall not, except in the course of official proceedings, communicate with or cause another to communicate with a juror concerning the case.

(c)

After discharge of the jury from further consideration of a case with which the lawyer was connected, the lawyer shall not ask questions of or make comments to a member of that jury that are calculated merely to harass or embarrass the juror or to influence the juror's actions in future jury service.

(d)

A lawyer shall not conduct or cause another, by financial support or otherwise, to conduct a vexatious or harassing investigation of a juror or prospective juror.

(e)

All restrictions imposed by this rule apply also to communications with or investigations of members of a family of a juror or prospective juror.

(f)

A lawyer shall reveal promptly to the court improper conduct by, or by another toward, a juror or prospective juror or a member of the family thereof, of which the lawyer has knowledge.

(g)

In an adversary proceeding a lawyer shall not communicate or cause another to communicate as to the merits of the case with the judge or an official before whom a proceeding is pending except:

(1) in the course of official proceedings;

(2) in writing, if the lawyer promptly delivers a copy of the writing to opposing counsel or to the adverse party if the party is not represented by a lawyer;

(3) orally upon adequate notice to opposing counsel or to the adverse party if the adverse party is not represented by a lawyer; or

(4) as otherwise authorized by law.

(h)

A lawyer shall not engage in conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal.

(Amended October 1, 2005.)

Comment

[1] Many forms of improper influence upon a tribunal are proscribed by criminal law. Others are specified in the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, with which an advocate should be familiar. A lawyer is required to avoid contributing to a violation of such provisions.

[2] The advocate's function is to present evidence and argument so that the cause may be decided according to law. Refraining from abusive or obstreperous conduct is a corollary of the advocate's right to speak on behalf of litigants. A lawyer may stand firm against abuse by a judge but should avoid reciprocation; the judge's default is no justification for similar dereliction by an advocate. An advocate can prevent the cause, protect the record for subsequent review and preserve professional integrity by patient firmness no less effectively than by belligerence or theatrics.

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