NLGSF Pursuing Ethics Complaint Against Torture Lawyer to California Supreme Court

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sharon Adams at 510.649.1331

or Carlos Villarreal at 415.377.6961

NLGSF Pursuing Ethics Complaint Against Torture Lawyer to California Supreme Court

State Bar Refused to Investigate Former Pentagon Lawyer Haynes

SAN FRANCISCO -  The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area
Chapter (NLGSF) filed a petition with the California Supreme Court this
week asking it to review the decision by the State Bar not to
investigate William J. Haynes II.  Haynes, now an attorney with the
Chevron
Corporation in San Ramon, used his position as a lawyer in the
Department of Defense to advocate for torture and illegal treatment of
detainees in
military custody during the Bush presidency.  Despite voluminous
evidence that Haynes has violated California's rules of professional
conduct
that all attorneys must follow, the State Bar has maintained that the
NLGSF complaint is closed without prejudice to reopening.

"The Bar seems to be punting this one," said Carlos Villarreal,
Executive Director of the NLGSF.  "They forwarded our complaint to bar
associations in other states and indicated that investigations
elsewhere might yield evidence they can act upon; but Haynes is
practicing law in
California and the State Bar needs to protect the people of California
from lawyers like him."

The petition alleges that Haynes, while at the Defense Department,
advised violation of the law, breached the duty of candor and good
faith required
of attorneys, and lacks the moral character needed for the privilege of
practicing law in California.  The facts, revealed primarily in a
report
from the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), demonstrate that
Haynes' office sought out techniques normally used to train military
personnel how
to resist those techniques if captured by rogue nations.  He then
recommended adoption of a number of these techniques by the military in
a
brief
memo to then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.  He did this without
citing relevant law and over the objections of a number of other
military
lawyers.  Haynes' memo was called "grossly deficient" by the SASC.

"Haynes was one of the key officials who pushed radical legal fictions
that led to the abuses at Guantanamo Bay, Baghram, Abu Graib and
elsewhere,"
said NLGSF Board Member Sharon Adams. "He is now in another powerful
legal position with Chevron, a corporation that is also linked to
torture in
Nigeria and elsewhere.  It is disgraceful that the State Bar refuses to
even open an investigation."

Haynes is also responsible for forcing a working group of officials to
accept legal opinions written by the notorious former Justice
Department
lawyer John Yoo, despite the fact that the group was already working on
a fair and unbiased analysis.  The Yoo memo, like Haynes' earlier memo
to
Rumsfeld, was later withdrawn because of its legal inadequacy.

"The legal work of both Haynes and Yoo were repudiated while Bush was
still in power," said Adams.  "There is nothing partisan about an
effort
to hold these lawyers accountable and protect the public from unethical
lawyers like Haynes."

The NLGSF petition can be downloaded in pdf format here: http://www.nlgsf.org/docs/HaynesPetitionCASupCrt.pdf.

The NLGSF Committee Against Torture is working to hold accountable
torture lawyers in California, including John Yoo (professor at Boalt
Hall School
of Law); Jay Bybee (federal judge in the 9th Circuit); and William
Haynes (registered in house counsel at Chevron Corp. in San Ramon). 
For more
information, please see our website: http://www.nlgsf.org/committees/againsttorture.php.

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The National Lawyers Guild is dedicated to the need for basic and progressive change in the structure of our political and economic system. Through its members--lawyers, law students, jailhouse lawyers and legal workers united in chapters and committees--the Guild works locally, nationally and internationally as an effective political and social force in the service of the people.

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