Monday, October 8, 2007

An Unsuccessful Appeal

A Complaint Tribunal of the Mississippi Bar found that a lawyer had engaged in ethics violations for the sixth time and imposed a 90 day suspension. The attorney appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court, contending that he did not have proper notice of the hearing (he had failed to appear and defaulted on the charges). He also contended that the sanction was too harsh.

The Mississippi Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the attorney had sufficient notice of the hearing. As to sanction: "The Bar and this Court have been extremely lenient with [the attorney's] previous five violations, and even in its decision today, this Court continues to be lenient." The court warns the attorney that there are limits to its leniency. Sanction: a one-year suspension and a requirement that the lawyer take and pass the MPRE.

South Carolina also disbarred an attorney with a lengthy record who had failed to participate in the proceeding, quoting an earlier case: "an attorney usually does abandon a license to practice law without a fight." (Mike Frisch)

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