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Volokh Conspiracy

Q: "Mr. McKenna, where do you live?" A: "In a house." [UPDATE: Added response from Keven McKenna]


From Friday's decision of the Rhode Island Supreme Court in In the Matter of Keven A. McKenna (R.I. Feb. 27, 2015), imposing a year-long suspension on lawyer Keven A. McKenna (who, according to the Providence Journal, is a "former state representative and Providence Municipal Court Judge"):

During the ninth day of hearings, respondent, while testifying as a witness, refused to admit familiarity with the pretrial order that had been the subject of the previous eight hearings. Opposing counsel then attempted to confirm the address of respondent's house:

[Opposing Counsel]: Mr. McKenna, where do you live?

[Respondent]: In a house.

[Opposing Counsel]: Can you tell me the address of your house?

[Respondent]: No.

[Respondent]: I don't have a house.

[Opposing Counsel]: Where, well, you just said you did. You just said –

[Respondent]: I did not. I live in a house.

[Opposing Counsel]: You live in a house. What is the address of that house that you live in?

[Respondent]: Actually, I don't think it has an address, it has a post-office box.

[Opposing Counsel]: Does your house, is your house on a street anywhere?

[Respondent]: No.

[Opposing Counsel]: It's not? Is it on an avenue?

[Respondent]: No.

[Opposing Counsel]: Is it on a court?

[Respondent]: No.

[Opposing Counsel]: Well, if I was to come and visit you, how would I get there?

[Respondent]: You would have to get directions from me."

[Footnote: It is worth mentioning that in respondent's answer to the U.S. Trustee's complaint objecting to discharge in Bankruptcy Court, see infra, respondent provided a street address for his residence.]

This was one of many items for which the court faulted Mr. McKenna; if you want more details, they are in the opinion. When asked by the Providence Journal to comment,

McKenna disputed the facts and reasoning of the decision, which he called "retaliation" for his criticism of the court.

"They took everything out of context and are using that as an excuse to get at me for criticism of them," McKenna said. "I am the only attorney that the Supreme Court has ever hired a special prosecutor to look for little allegations against. I'll be back. I am not finished with them."

UPDATE: I had asked Mr. McKenna last week whether he had a few words he wanted to say in response, and I just got this, which I'm happy to pass along (emphasis in original):

Your blog missed the point. This is a long battle of ultra vires actions by the Supreme Court. I challenged the Worker Compensation commission for awarding money to a paralegal without a trial to prove the existence of an injury, The Rhode Island Constitution's Separation of Powers. Article V, does not allow RI Supreme Court to prosecute, administer, and adjudicate. The Workers Compensation Judge did not find me in contempt. The Supreme Court did not find me in contempt. It need pettifoggery as an excuse for punishing me for my constitutional cases. A state constitution is the voice of the voters. The five unelected members of the R.I. Supreme Court can only adjudicate and not regulate. Lawyers must stop pandering to State Supreme Court's so called regulatory powers. There was no client complaint and no money issues. Their actions were violation of my advocacy rights. It is a clear violation of the First Amendment.