Florida Bar Dismisses Grievance Case Against Rifqa Bary Attorney John Stemberger
May 24, 2011
ORLANDO, Fla., (christiansunite.com) -- On Thursday, May 19, 2011, The Florida Bar signed filed a voluntary and complete dismissal of the grievance complaint brought against Rifqa Bary's attorney, John Stemberger, who is a leading conservative Christian advocate based in Orlando, Florida. In the proposed final Report of the Referee, the judge found no ethical violations and wrote "I recommend the matter be dismissed." The Final Report of the Judge/Referee is subject to approval by the Florida Supreme Court.
Rifqa Bary was the teenage Muslim-to-Christian covert who made international news in 2009 after fleeing her parents and the radical Islamic community in Columbus, Ohio when threatened with an honor / apostate killing for her conversion. Stemberger represented Bary in the Orlando dependency case before the jurisdiction of the case was transferred to Ohio. Rifqa's legal team won her case on August 10, 2010 when they secured her dependency status away from her parents and eventually obtained her immigration standing as a permanent U.S. legal resident with a track to become a citizen in about four years.
The formal filing by The Florida Bar was a "Voluntary Dismissal with Prejudice" which permanently dismisses the entire Complaint and all three of its alleged charges against Stemberger. The case was previously on a schedule to be tried by the chief judge of the Polk County Court on June 22, 2011. Earlier this year, the Florida Supreme Court tagged the case as high profile and in an unusual move, ordered eight copies of everything filed to delivered to each justice on the high court and post online all the filings.
The Florida Bar's dismissal of the case came exactly one week after the deposition of Rifqa Bary was taken telephonically at an undisclosed location for security reasons. At the end of the deposition, Rifqa gave a passionate plea that the action being taken against Stemberger was a "grave injustice" and that he was responsible for helping to save her life.
The "grievance" against Stemberger was originally filed with The Florida Bar by Muslim attorney Omar Tarazi of Columbus, Ohio who represented Rifqa's parents. After the grievance complaint, Tarazi continued to retaliate against Stemberger by filing a ten million dollar lawsuit in an Ohio federal court claiming he was "defamed" by part of a 30 second interview on Fox and Friends where his name was not even mentioned. That defamation claim is still pending and being pursued by Tarazi in the Southern District of Ohio.
Rifqa Bary also made the following formal statement after learning about the grievance dismissal:
"I believe the bringing of this case was a great injustice because I would not be here without the aid of this man's counsel in my court hearing. With a wife and four children, he still spent countless hours each day, without pay, fighting for my freedom and safety... even to the point of it costing his health. I believe Mr. Stemberger to be a man of absolute integrity and honesty."
John Stemberger also released the following statement:
"Integrated Bar Associations around the country are slowly losing their identities as merely professional associations created to educate and regulate lawyers. Instead, many are becoming increasingly ideological and political. Additionally, many institutions of society, including bar associations, are bending over backwards to accommodate members of Islam as a new protected class. Instead of championing constitutional free speech rights, bar organizations are opting for enforcing political correctness."
The state Bar in Kansas has also tried to discipline Attorney General Phill Kline for statements he has made in exposing Planned Parenthood and its illegal activities. Angie Lloyd is a clinical law professor and respected child advocate in Columbus who served as one of Rifqa Bary's lawyers in Ohio. She also had criminal charges filed against her and an Ohio Bar Grievance both filed by Omar Tarazi. Instead dismissing the frivolous complaint, The Ohio Bar has also chosen to pursue the complaint against Lloyd. John Stemberger has written on "lawfare" -- the use of law and legal processes as a weapon to squelch free speech.
Those wishing to make a contribution to help John Stemberger pay for the attorney's fees and costs of these legal attacks can do so online at his Legal Defense Fund at www.StembergerDefense.com.