Indianapolis, IN, April 28, 2011: On behalf of over 5,000 lawyers, judges, and legal professionals, the Indianapolis Bar Association on occasion finds it appropriate to speak when the integrity of the legal system or those who administer, support and defend it are unfairly called into question. The April 27, 2011 blog post by Abdul Hakim-Shabazz titled “Treacy v. Parker?”, has made unsubstantiated allegations that call into question the actions of a sitting judge and the integrity of the legal system as a whole. The Marion County Circuit Court judge in the matter involving the case of Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White is bound by the rules of judicial conduct in that and any other case. While we understand the importance of a free debate in political matters and policy issues of public concern, including those that may take place on the Indiana Barrister blog, parts of this April 27 blog post suggest without evidence that the judge has violated his duties. The legal system, its participants and the public benefit from commentary on politics that is free from baseless allegations of this nature. We also note that since Abdul Hakim-Shabazz is an attorney who has chosen a name for his blog that references the legal profession, it would have been our hope that his respect for the legal system would have outweighed any interest in publishing sensationalized, unfounded and unattributed allegations about the judge. The IndyBar reiterates its support for a vigorous public discourse about the legal system and judiciary, but encourages those who comment publicly to do so responsibly.
Shabazz' posted his unsubstantiated allegations against Judge Rosenberg not only on his Indiana Barrister blog but also the Capitol Watch blog of WRTV News where he serves as a political commentator. I still see no reporting there in response to the serious allegations he alleged in his blog posting against Judge Rosenberg. For his part, Shabazz posted the following characteristically flippant response to the IBA's letter:
I received a copy of the following statement in my e-mail tonight from the Indianapolis Bar Association. The organization took issue with my recent blog post Treacy v. Parker? As a big believer in free speech, I have no problem with the Bar Association criticizing yours truly.I think it's time for Shabazz to put up or shut up. I'm a big believer in the fundamental constitutional right to free speech as he is as a daily blogger, but I think one should tread very lightly when it comes to impugning the professional integrity of one of our judicial officers, particularly when one is an officer of the court. I often have disagreements with the decisions judges make, but I try to restrain my feelings and avoid character assassination, which is essentially what his allegations against Judge Rosenberg amounted to. I don't think he should have made the allegations he made against him unless he was willing, as an officer of the court, to back them up with a complaint to the Commission on Judicial Qualifications.
I stand by my blog post. This blog has always been about open debate and respecting honest dissenting opinions and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Like the title says, I’m a big boy and I can take the criticism. It comes with the territory. I’ve always said if you can’t take the heat, find another cook.