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News & Columns

5 Spot

By Jerre Wroble
Posted // June 11,2007 -

Brian M. Barnard is a 1969 graduate of Loyola of Los Angeles Law School. Since 1976, his private practice has emphasized civil-rights cases. He has sued nearly every major institution in Utah.

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How do you view the proposed flag amendment?

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Among other things, the flag stands for freedom of speech which includes burning a flag as expression. This is political tomfoolery at its finest. No epidemic of flag burning is sweeping the nation; flags are rarely defiled.

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Which cases are you the most proud of?

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Forcing the Utah State Bar to allow attorneys to advertise was a major accomplishment. Ads increase public access to legal services. Forcing the Utah State Liquor Commission to allow liquor advertising made the establishment remember that the minority has rights and that advertising of a legal product, though shunned by many, is protected by the First Amendment. Forcing the 100-plus-years-old prestigious Alta Club to admit women as members made my mother proud.

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Which cases made you angry?

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We lost a case where government officers frisked attendees upon entering the government-owned Huntsman Events Center for a Neil Young performance ironically called the “Freedom Concert.” Such dragnet searches by government officials violate the Fourth Amendment.

nn

Recently, a CIA operative was outed in the media. What’s your view of newspapers publishing leaked classified information: Is it treason or a right protected by the First Amendment?

nn

Good question without one answer. Was it wrong to publish the Pentagon Papers? One hopes the zeal of the fourth estate is tempered by wisdom and the best interests of society.

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Who dreads hearing from you the most?

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Most of our civil-rights cases are brought on behalf of people who can ill afford the services of an attorney. If we are successful, the other side, usually a government entity, must pay our fees. I refer to that as “teaching the government a lesson. Then sending them a bill for tuition.”

 
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