Fate of lawyers behind DUI setup in hands of FL Supreme Court

- Last May, three attorneys were found guilty of setting up rival attorney Phil Campbell for a DUI arrest.

As part of the scheme, they used their legal assistant to have drinks with Campbell at Malios, and involved the head of the DUI squad, disgraced Sergeant Ray Fernandez, who waited in the wings to arrest Campbell.

When the setup was discovered, the fallout was ugly. The cop was fired. One of the attorneys, Stephen Diaco was permanently disbarred.

The two others, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut, are now fighting for their legal careers.

They appeared Thursday in front of Florida Supreme Court justices in an effort to keep from being disbarred.

Robert Adams' attorney, William Jung tried his best to pass the blame.

"In a very high-profile, contentious case, a couple of lawyers, primarily Mr. Diaco, lost their way," said Jung. "[Adams] has never committed such error in judgment in his 47 years on plant Earth."

"I would hope not," interrupted Supreme Court Justice Fred Lewis. "I have never encountered behavior like this, and calculated, and planned behavior... You know, it could be we've never seen a case this bad. Is that possible?"

Justice Lewis' comments began what would be an onslaught of scathing comments about the attorneys' actions.

Adam Filthauts' attorney, Mark O'Brien was up next.

Justice Barbara Pariente took aim, saying, "but for Mr. Filtahut - and his knowledge and friendship with Fernandez - the ensnaring, the entrapment, the unethical conduct of that night would not have occurred."

O'Brien said his client was doing the right things, trying to get a drunk driver off the street, but Justice Pariente wasn't buying it.

"Was he like a pal of Fernandez? Going around because he really had a thing against DUIs, so that anybody at a bar would not drive and drink? I mean, come on," scoffed Justice Pariente.

One justice after the next scolded the actions of all three attorneys. 

"You're a lawyer. You took an oath. I can't do this, and if it means, 'hey, I'm not going to be getting a paycheck from this firm tomorrow,' fine! Go back to the public defenders office or the State Attorneys Office, but we don't do this," said Chief Justice Jorge Labarga.

Justice Peggy Quince followed-up with her conclusions.

"He could have walked away from this, but he stayed in the mix, twice. And I just don't see how he is not as culpable as the others," Justice Quince said.

The attorneys representing Adams and Filthaut argued for disbarment . If an attorney is disbarred they can reapply for their license in five years. If a lawyer is permanently disbarred, however, they may never practice law again.

The Florida Supreme Court may hand down its final ruling this fall.

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