Is truth the perfect defense?

A six-month suspension has been recommended for an Illinois lawyer who repeatedly criticized a judge, calling him, at one point, a “narcissistic, maniacal mental case” during a telephone conversation with the judge and opposing counsel in a family law matter.

Although Melvin Hoffman has practiced for more than 35 years without any prior discipline, he is not a good candidate for probation because he refuses to admit that he was in the wrong and take recommended steps to correct his behavior, says the Review Board of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission in a written opinion last week.

Hoffman contended that his constitutional right of free speech allowed him to express his opinion about the judge.

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