As I discussed here earlier this month, certain federal judges have zero patience for counsel who want to trot out exaggerated rhetoric about how bad their opponent's case is, how "stunningly incompetent" the other side's counsel may be, and so on. A 4th Circuit opinion from last week shows that this is also true when it is counsel for the government doing the talking. In U.S. v. Venable (via Raymond Ward), James Venable was indicted on the charge of possessing a firearm while being a felon. Venable, an African American, moved to dismiss the indictment against him on the grounds that the U.S. Attorney's Office allegedly selected him for prosecution under a federal-state law enforcement initiative known as Project Exile, because of his race. When the lower court refused to grant Venable discovery on his selective prosecution claim, Venable appealed. The whole matter seems to have pushed some buttons at the U.S. Attorney's Office, which filed a brief with the 4th Circuit that irritated the court quite a bit. The court added a footnote in its opinion stating that it felt "compelled to note that advocates, including government lawyers, do themselves a disservice when their briefs contain disrespectful or uncivil...

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