Professor James Cohen comments in Hudson Valley 360 about recent events surrounding a contentious District Attorney’s Office election coming up on November 5 in Columbia County, New York.
Keeler said Thursday he has been in communication with Jeffrey Yeh, who was indicted by a Columbia County grand jury in June on several felony charges related to alleged credit card theft. Yeh’s trial is scheduled to begin in January, after the winning candidate in the Nov. 5 election takes office.
Keeler said he shared with Yeh information about an election poll conducted by Czajka’s campaign, and Yeh then posted the information to his own Facebook page and his self-run Columbia County Citizens Action Network page on Facebook. As part of the Czajka poll post, Yeh asked his followers to let him know if they were contacted by the pollsters.
“It’s a breach of staggering proportions,” said James Cohen, a 20-year professor of legal ethics and professional responsibility at Fordham Law School, describing Keeler’s conduct in sharing information about his opponent with a defendant whose case is pending in criminal court.
“It is totally unethical that an attorney and candidate for DA would speak to a defendant under criminal indictment,” Cohen said, adding the incident “shocking” and “bizarre,” and not something he’s ever encountered in more than 40 years as a practicing New York City defense attorney.