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Stamford, Conn., attorney Glenn A. Gazin’s lack of restraint got the best of him when he wrote in a letter to opposing counsel that even Saddam Hussein would be an acceptable choice to oversee his divorcing client’s supervised visits with her four young daughters. He didn’t mean to be taken literally. Oh really, was Judge Kevin Tierney’s reaction. Known for, at times, being a little overly dramatic himself, Tierney held Gazin’s feet to the fire and ordered him to personally write the deposed Iraqi dictator to see if he was available. It didn’t matter that, at the time, Hussein was probably holed up in a bunker someplace avoiding capture by U.S. forces. Tierney had a point to make: Don’t say something you don’t mean in a case he is presiding over. Though the exchange took place last December, it wound up as part of recent grievance proceedings against Gazin; his client wasn’t exactly appreciative that he billed her for writing to Hussein. Still, in hindsight, Gazin retains a positive perspective on the matter. “I’m culpable possibly of excessive zeal in advocacy of my client,” he said in his defense during an interview last week. Representing Stamford resident Cheryl Sottosanti in a messy divorce action against her husband, Gazin had expressed frustration in a letter to opposing counsel, Yvette P. Fallon of Stamford, that the husband David Sottosanti wouldn’t accept any of the defense’s proposed choices to supervise the mother’s visits with the couple’s children. In correspondence with Fallon, Gazin said he was so frustrated over the issue that he would be agreeable to giving Hussein the job. That comment came back to haunt him in proceedings before Tierney on Dec. 8. As the two sides sparred over the issue of supervision, Tierney sat tapping away on his laptop, according to Gazin. When he finished typing, he ordered the Stamford solo to try to contact Hussein in writing. Tierney even went as far as scouring the Internet for Hussein’s mailing address. JUDICIAL HUMOR “Judge Tierney did not act inappropriately at all,” said Fallon. “Mr. Gazin inappropriately and unprofessionally invoked Saddam Hussein’s name in the course of the case. In an effort to keep matters from spinning out of control, Judge Tierney made some humorous, ironic suggestions to Mr. Gazin about Mr. Gazin’s invocation of Saddam Hussein.” In the letter to Hussein, Gazin explained the background of the case before writing, “I was not suggesting that, so desperate was I to see to it that my client and her children be re-united, I would accept the most unqualified person imaginable as supervisor in order to facilitate this [Although, in point of fact, I am that desperate.]. What I was implying,” he added, “was that so desperate was I, that I would accept the most unavailable individual whom I could imagine as a supervisor. At the present time, it is my understanding that you are deeply engaged in both political and military matters at undisclosed location … and you have designated no agents for the purpose of receiving legal process.” Gazin then outlined what Hussein’s duties would be as supervisor. “I regret that my client is unable to pay you more than a small fee for your services,” he wrote. “I believe that you would find the job to be a welcome diversion from the more daunting tasks that must pre-occupy you at this time.” A former professional magician and nightclub owner, Gazin doesn’t see the letter as an attempt by Tierney to teach him a lesson. “I’m 50 years old. Nobody is teaching me a lesson. I thought it was a singular and excellent example of Judge Tierney’s widely noted and unique sense of judicial humor.” As for his now ex-client’s grievance, “She said I wrote this crazy letter to Saddam Hussein as an indication of what a bad lawyer I am,” Gazin noted. In the end, the Statewide Grievance Committee reprimanded Gazin only because he failed to respond to the complaint within a 30-day time period, for which, Gazin admits, “There’s no excuse.”

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