Attorney in evolution case not licensed in Kansas
Topeka ? The battle over public school science standards has gone from evolution to law.
Attorney Pedro Irigonegaray, who represented mainstream, pro-evolution scientists during hearings in May on science standards, accused attorney John Calvert, who represented the anti-evolution scientists, of misstating his official job position.
Irigonegaray said of Calvert, “He has never been licensed to practice law in the state of Kansas and all the time in those hearings he was acting as a Kansas lawyer.
“It’s an outrage. It is both illegal and unethical to do so. There are criminal statutes that sanction against false impersonation and that includes acting as though one was something that one isn’t.”
Calvert on Wednesday conceded he is not licensed to practice law in Kansas. He said he is licensed in Missouri.
But Calvert says he did nothing wrong. Calvert said the four days of hearings, in which anti-evolutionists testified to a three-member committee of the Kansas State Board of Education, was not a court proceeding.
If it had been, Calvert said, he would have had to have been licensed to practice law in Kansas, or at least been with a lawyer who was.
“The proceeding we were engaged in was not a legal proceeding. We were simply presenting witnesses that were testifying about a scientific issue,” Calvert said.
He said Irigonegaray’s comments at a news conference were “silly” and designed to deflect attention from the issue, which he says is that the theory of evolution is in trouble in the scientific community.
On a transcript of the hearing, Calvert also is identified as a lawyer from Lathrop & Gage. But Calvert said that was an error made by the court reporter.
Calvert said he retired from Lathrop & Gage in 2001 but still has an office at the firm’s headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.
Frank Diehl, a deputy disciplinary administrator at the Kansas Disciplinary Administrator’s office – which handles complaints about lawyers – said representing oneself falsely as a licensed professional is a crime punishable by up to six months in jail.
Diehl’s comments were unrelated to the allegations made by Irigonegaray. He said he didn’t know the facts of that situation.