Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Caught between Law School and Divinity School.

Here's a piece that's disturbing on a couple of levels.

At first blush, it appears to be a story highlighting an out-of-control judiciary. A judge held a lawyer in contempt because he refused to file papers to become a member of the New York bar, and instead wanted to become a minister. (M. Fass, "Ex-NY Associate Held in Contempt for Not Seeking Admission to the Bar", New York Lawyer, April 12, 2005.)

This is not a misprint: "An attorney-turned-divinity student ... has been held in contempt by a Manhattan judge for refusing to file the necessary papers to become a member of the New York State Bar." (Id.)

Why did the judge order the man to be a lawyer rather than a divinity student?

The contempt order had something to do with his $40,000 unpaid child support obligation. (Id.)

Acting Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey S. Sunshine wrote: "Here, defendant has willfully determined that he will not file the papers necessary for the admission to the bar with the appropriate judicial department. He has also willfully determined that he now wishes to become a minister and not meet his support obligations." (Id.; emphasis supplied.)

The ex-wife was "particularly disturbed that [her former spouse Mr. Ajose] is living in a house owned by his mother, drives a new car, has a cell phone and a separate phone line, is well-dressed and recently purchased the children expensive video games systems, scooters and other gifts," according to Justice Sunshine's ruling. (Id.)

For his part, Mr. Ajose replied that "having a cell phone and a home phone is not an indicator of affluence in any sense." (Id.)

(HT: vanderhoofven.)