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A proposal that would have prohibited Utah lawyers from knowingly making false statements about the judicial system has died.

The Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct, which made the proposal initially, decided to recommend against adopting the change, according to Rick Schwermer, assistant administrator of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

The decision to drop the proposal came after the comment period ended this summer. Many lawyers who commented said the rule would violate their free speech rights and was overly broad and too vague. Also, they wondered who would decide if a statement was false.

The proposal to amend Rule 8.2 — which also would have encouraged attorneys to defend the judicial system when it is unjustly criticized — was prompted by an advertisement for a law firm alleging that divorce courts are unfairly stacked against fathers.

The Salt Lake Tribune