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Why You Never Threaten Opposing Counsel

By William Vogeler, Esq. on October 10, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you learn anything from street law, you learn never to threaten opposing counsel -- especially in writing.

It's not just bad practice, it's a potential bar complaint. It could even land you in jail.

Paul Muckle apparently never learned his lesson. You just can't threaten to kill opposing counsel.

Email Bombed

Muckle left little to the imagination when he sent an email warning about how bombs could be made from ordinary household items, such as plastic bottles. For good measure, he sent the email to a large mailing list with a warning to his opposing counsel:

"I want them to be very careful because want them to be in one piece and in good health when we face off in the First Circuit court, I will get more satisfaction from that, so guys, read below and be safe," he wrote.

Muckle was convicted of intimidating a person to further a civil proceeding, but the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court dismissed because the trial court lacked jurisdiction.

He got lucky but still faces potential attorney discipline. He sent a series of email and even a YouTube video as evidence.

Crossed the Line

A. Suayri, a criminal lawyer, was not so lucky when he threatened opposing counsel. Television reporters were there for his trial.

"If I see you anywhere, you better watch," Suayri reportedly said. "If you don't withdraw your complaint, I'm going to cut and kill you."

He was convicted of making a death threat and sentenced to nine months in prison. After the court proceeding, Datuk Suraj Singh told reporters he was happy to put the incident behind him.

Singh continues to practice law, but he has another job. He has been an Elvis impersonator for more than two decades.

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