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Standing Up for Christmas: Idaho “Christmas Lawyer” Faces Disbarment
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Self-proclaimed as the “Christmas Lawyer,” Jeremy Morris is currently at the center of a legal storm, facing potential disbarment in Idaho after openly criticizing federal Judge B. Lynn Winmill. The dispute stems from a prolonged legal battle with the West Hayden Estates Homeowners Association (HOA), triggered by Morris’s elaborate Christmas display that featured 700,000 bulbs, a live nativity scene with a camel, and over 80 actors.

The Spectacular Christmas Display

In 2015, Morris moved into the Kootenai County community and spent three months designing a monumental Christmas display, only to face opposition from the HOA. Despite reviewing the association’s rules and finding no legal impediments, he received a legal warning threatening a lawsuit if the lights were not removed within ten days. The HOA argued that the display would offend non-Christians, attract possible undesirables, and cause excessive brightness.

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Legal Battle Unleashed

Refusing to dismantle his display, Morris was embroiled in a nearly decade-long legal battle with the HOA. In 2016, his neighbors allegedly harassed visitors, prompting Morris to sue the HOA for religious discrimination and violation of the Fair Housing Act. The jury ruled unanimously in his favor, ordering the HOA to pay $75,000. However, Judge Winmill reversed the verdict, ordering Morris to pay $111,000 in legal fees and imposing a permanent ban on future Christmas displays that violated HOA rules.

Accusations of Misconduct and Reversal

In 2021, Morris filed a judicial misconduct claim against Winmill, alleging unfair treatment of witnesses. The case is currently awaiting a decision from the 9th Circuit. However, the Idaho State Bar took notice of Morris’s social media and documentary statements, accusing Winmill of corruption and bigotry. In August, the Bar found “probable cause to proceed with formal charges” under Idaho’s professional conduct rule, citing statements made with reckless disregard for the truth. The Bar offered to dismiss the case if Morris surrendered his Idaho legal license, a proposition he deemed a “shakedown.”

Impact and Moving Forward

Morris’s clash with the HOA inspired the Apple TV film “‘ Twas The Fight Before Christmas.” In February 2022, he announced his departure from Idaho, expressing gratitude to those who supported him. Despite the legal challenges and potential disbarment, Morris remains steadfast, proud of his stand and the message he believes he sent to those who opposed him.

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In a 2022 video, Morris stated, “I’m so proud of the stand that I took and the opportunity that I’ve given to people who hate me, my family, my beliefs, to turn the other cheek. I would do it again.” The outcome of his legal battle now awaits the decision of the 9th Circuit.



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