James Backstrom, Dakota Co. Attorney, Admits to Wrongdoing, techinally the Petition to Sanction, must be disbarment, as the Backstrom a Public Elected Official, MS609.43, has committed a Crime against the Office
James Backstrom Misconduct_ Pet 13 May09 B State15 May09
Subject: James Backstrom reprimanded publicly for misconduct by Supreme court Page 1 of 2
Subj: Subject: James Backstrom reprimanded publicly for misconduct by Supreme court
Date: 5/17/2009 5:50:54 P.M. Central Daylight Time
James Backstrom reprimanded publicly for
misconduct by Supreme court
RULE 8.4: MISCONDUCT
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:
(a) violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or
do so through the acts of another;
(b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer¹s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in
(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation;
(d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;
(e) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official or to achieve results by means
that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law;
(f) knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct or
(g) harass a person on the basis of sex, race, age, creed, religion, color, national origin, disability, sexual
orientation, or marital status in connection with a lawyer¹s professional activities;
(h) commit a discriminatory act prohibited by federal, state, or local statute or ordinance that reflects adversely on
the lawyer¹s fitness as a lawyer. Whether a discriminatory act reflects adversely on a lawyer¹s fitness as a lawyer
shall be determined after consideration of all the circumstances, including:
(1) the seriousness of the act,
(2) whether the lawyer knew that the act was prohibited by statute or ordinance,
(3) whether the act was part of a pattern of prohibited conduct, and
(4) whether the act was committed in connection with the lawyer¹s professional activities; or
(i) refuse to honor a final and binding fee arbitration award after agreeing to arbitrate a fee dispute.
 Lawyers are subject to discipline when they violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct,
knowingly assist or induce another to do so or do so through the acts of another, as when they request or instruct
an agent to do so on the lawyer¹s behalf. Paragraph (a), however, does not prohibit a lawyer from advising a
client concerning action the client is legally entitled to take.
 Many kinds of illegal conduct reflect adversely on fitness to practice law, such as offenses involving fraud and
the offense of willful failure to file an income tax return. Although a lawyer is personally answerable to the entire
criminal law, a lawyer should be professionally answerable only for offenses that indicate lack of those
characteristics relevant to the practice of law. Offenses involving violence, dishonesty, or breach of trust, or
Monday, May 18, 2009 AOL: Sharon4Anderson
Subject: James Backstrom reprimanded publicly for misconduct by Supreme court Page 2 of 2
serious interference with the administration of justice are in that category. A pattern of repeated offenses, even
ones of minor significance when considered separately, can indicate indifference to legal obligation.
 Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilities going beyond those of other citizens. A lawyer¹s
abuse of public office can suggest an inability to fulfill the professional role of attorney. The same is true of abuse
of positions of private trust such as trustee, executor, administrator, guardian, agent and officer, director or
manager of a corporation or other organization.
 Paragraph (g) specifies a particularly egregious type of discriminatory act-harassment on the basis of sex,
race, age, creed, religion, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or marital status. What constitutes
harassment in this context may be determined with reference to antidiscrimination legislation and case law
thereunder. This harassment ordinarily involves the active burdening of another, rather than mere passive failure
to act properly.
 Harassment on the basis of sex, race, age, creed, religion, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation,
or marital status may violate either paragraph (g) or paragraph (h). The harassment violates paragraph (g) if the
lawyer committed it in connection with the lawyer¹s professional activities. Harassment, even if not committed in
connection with the lawyer¹s professional activities, violates paragraph (h) if the harassment (1) is prohibited by
antidiscrimination legislation and (2) reflects adversely on the lawyer¹s fitness as a lawyer, determined as
specified in paragraph (h).
 Paragraph (h) reflects the premise that the concept of human equality lies at the very heart of our legal system.
A lawyer whose behavior demonstrates hostility toward or indifference to the policy of equal justice under the law
may thereby manifest a lack of character required of members of the legal profession. Therefore, a lawyer¹s
discriminatory act prohibited by statute or ordinance may reflect adversely on his or her fitness as a lawyer even if
the unlawful discriminatory act was not committed in connection with the lawyer¹s professional activities.
 Whether an unlawful discriminatory act reflects adversely on fitness as a lawyer is determined after
consideration of all relevant circumstances, including the four factors listed in paragraph (h). It is not required that
the listed factors be considered equally, nor is the list intended to be exclusive. For example, it would also be
relevant that the lawyer reasonably believed that his or her conduct was protected under the state or federal
constitution or that the lawyer was acting in a capacity for which the law provides an exemption from civil liability.
See, e.g., Minn. Stat. Section 317A.257 (unpaid director or officer of nonprofit organization acting in good faith
and not willfully or recklessly).
 A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid
obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning
or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law.
Diabetics/Disabled Anonymous, Non Profit Support Group and Alliance. (DDA)
1144 Ottawa Avenue
West St. Paul, MN USA 55118-2008
Fax and Phone: 651 457 4376
Monday, May 18, 2009 AOL: Sharon4Anderson
May 15, 2009
Public Statement of James C. Backstrom, Dakota County Attorney
Concerning Action Taken By the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility
I have had the privilege of serving as the Dakota County Attorney for more than 21 years and
have always been an aggressive advocate for justice. In this regard I have struggled with the
practice of other public officials in this community accepting private work engagements which I
believe conflict with the work of my office. These general concerns were the motivation for an
email I sent to the Dakota County Medical Examiner last fall.
The email expressed my concerns about members of the Medical Examiner’s office contracting
to assist criminal defense attorneys in murder prosecutions. The Office of Lawyers Professional
Responsibility has determined that I did not comply with the rules of professional responsibility
by sending this email at a time when an Assistant Dakota County Medical Examiner was under
contract to assist defense attorneys in a murder trial occurring in Washington County.
My purpose in sending this email was to share with the Dakota County Medical Examiner my
concerns about this practice continuing in the future. I did not intend to adversely impact the
Washington County trial in any respect. However, sending this email at the time I did
represented a lack of judgment on my part for which I apologize.
As soon as I became aware of claims that my email had caused the Assistant Dakota County
Medical Examiner to withdraw from further involvement in the murder case, I immediately sent
a clarifying email to all parties involved, explaining that my purpose had been to address an on-
going policy issue and that I did not intend to interfere in any way with the Assistant Medical
Examiner’s involvement in the Washington County case. I also spoke to the Dakota County
Medical Examiner a few days later (while the Washington County trial was still underway) and
asked her to urge her Assistant to testify in that trial if she was requested to do so. This was a
sincere effort to mitigate any negative impact my earlier email may have inadvertently had
upon the Washington County case.
While I do not believe my action ultimately affected the outcome of the Washington County
trial, as the defense had other expert witnesses and consultants available to them, I regret
having sent this email and have accepted the recommendation of the Office of Lawyers
Professional Responsibility that I receive a public reprimand.
I care deeply about this job and the people I work to protect. I remain strongly committed to
continuing to successfully carry out the prosecution of criminal acts occurring in Dakota County
and the other responsibilities of my Office.
James C. Backstrom
Dakota County Attorney