Supreme Court suspends the wrong lawyer — how did that happen?

On Tuesday, Will Baude pointed out an unusual, unsigned order coming out the Supreme Court: “Due to mistaken identity, the order suspending Christopher Patrick Sullivan of Boston, Massachusetts from the practice of law in this Court, dated May 15, 2017, is vacated.”

The AP’s Mark Sherman soon followed up.  It seems that the Court intended to suspend Christopher P. Sullivan, a Vermont attorney who is now in prison for DUI hit-and-run.  Instead, it targeted another Christopher P. Sullivan, a prominent Boston attorney who is president-elect of the Massachusetts Bar Association.  Everyone seems to agree that it was an honest mistake, that was resolved quickly.  As the Boston Herald explained yesterday: “If you live in New England and have an Irish name, chances are someone else has it, too.”

But how did this happen, especially for an organization that, as Mark Sherman noted, “sometimes debates the placement of a comma”? Continue reading “Supreme Court suspends the wrong lawyer — how did that happen?”