I have lived in Costa Rica for almost seventeen years and practiced law as a Costa Rica Lawyer for twelve of those years. Never have I had my cell phone turned-on during an appointment with a client, or with other professionals, while acting as a lawyer, or otherwise.

However, during my time in Costa Rica, I have witnessed my Costa Rica Medical Doctor(s) accepting calls and speaking on their cell phones during an official appointment and examination of me.

This has even included a doctor arguing with a colleague on their phone, directly in front of me during an examination. I have also witnessed many legal colleagues also accepting phone calls and speaking on their cell phone during official appointments.

The circumstance that “really takes the cake”, is the recent panel of Court Judges that is now under investigation for being almost continually on their cell phones (“texting” I presume) during the trial and sentencing arguments of several drug traffickers, who were found guilty of the offences charged.

The matter came to light, because the Defense Lawyers in the case have Appealed the convictions of their clients on the grounds that the Judges were distracted from fulfilling their judicial duties by being continually on their cell phones during the judicial proceedings. On investigation, it was found the one of the judges on the panel had made eighty calls (“texts”) on her cell phone during the course of the proceedings.

Not only is this conduct totally unprofessional in nature for any professional, but the Appeal proceedings and likely the necessary re-trial of the case that will result from a successful Appeal in the case of the Court Judges, is extremely costly to the State. In my opinion, this matter has to be dealt with in a harsh manner, with suspensions without pay, or outright dismissal, for those on the panel of Court Judges found offending these basic rules and principals of professional protocol.

No accused person coming before the Courts in Costa Rica deserves less than the full attention of the party charged with the duty of being the trier of facts and law, and the power of sentencing. In my opinion, what has happened in this instance, is a complete derogation of these duties.

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Richard Philps
Attorney Richard (Rick) Philps is a Canadian citizen, naturalized as a citizen of Costa Rica. Rick practiced law in Victoria, B.C., Canada as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, for fourteen years, prior to moving to Costa Rica in 1998. Rick then earned his Bachelor of Laws and Licensing Degrees (Civil Law), with Honours, and a Post-Graduate Degree in Notary and Registry Law, from the Metropolitana Castro Carazo and Escuela Libre de Derecho Universities, in San Jose. Rick is a member of the Costa Rica College of Lawyers, and practices law in Costa Rica in the areas of real estate and development, corporate, commercial, contract, immigration, and banking with the Law Firm of Petersen & Philps, located in Escazu, a western suburb of San Jose. To contact Attorney Rick Philps about hiring him as your Costa Rican Attorney, please use the following information: Lic. Rick Philps - Attorney at Law, Petersen & Philps, San Jose, Costa Rica Tel: 506-2288-4381, Ext. 102; Email: rick@costaricacanadalaw.com Website: www.costaricacanadalaw.com