There aren't many things that political bloggers of all stripes can agree on, but I suspect there is near unanimous support for the notion that Calument County District Attorney Ken Kratz has, on apparently more than one occasion, acted like a pathetic dweeb.
I suspect that there is almost as much support for the proposition that Kratz' behavior toward a victim of domestic abuse was worse than pathetic in that it showed an utter disregard for the victim's humanity. A woman who has been the victim of domestic abuse doesn't need to be hit on by a person charged with helping to protect her. In proposing an amorous relationship at a time when he was supposed to be prosecuting her abuser, Kratz placed her in an untenable position. She was not free to laugh in his face or even to let him down gently. She may well have felt pressure to accede to - or to at least play along - with his desires.
It would not be hard to see this as a form of "quid pro quo" sexual harassment. The problem was not the words he used, but what the words proposed. If he wanted a relationship with her (in violation of the rule that you ought not to date people who could be your children much less the overly generous "half your age plus seven" rule), he needed to wait until there was no longer a professional relationship.
People are now wondering why charges were not issued by the Office of Lawyer Regulation. OLR itself is prohibiting from commenting. Under SCR 22.40, investigations are confidential.
I should point out that I am part of the attorney discipline system. I serve as a referee, i.e., I am assigned to sit as the "trial judge" in discipline cases and make - not a decision - but a recommendation to the Court. I don't see the cases until they are charged. Because of that, I don't want to comment further on the investigation which may have included significant material not in the public domain.
But ... I suspect that the question will now arise as to why "lawyers regulate lawyers." There are nonlawyers in the system and no charge can issue without review by a committee that includes nonlawyers. Often, a committee including nonlawyers will be involved in an investigation, but the rules do not make this mandatory.
Maybe a charge should have been brought in the Krantz case, but the reason that it wasn't is not that OLR is soft on lawyers.
The short answer to the question I've posed is that it takes professionals to judge many forms of professional misconduct. But there is misconduct which is more evident (this case may well involve it) and I fear that some people may believe that the OLR "goes easy" on lawyers.
Based on my experience, that is simply not the case. While it may be somewhat understaffed, my impression is that the OLR takes its charge quite seriously and, in my experience, it does take positions that are, from time to time, harsher toward the lawyer respondent than I would take. While I don't believe it is overly harsh, neither do I think that it is an easy mark.