Monday, February 4, 2008
A lawyer who made debit purchases from entrusted funds at The Wiz, BMW and All Own Parts Inc. was disbarred by the New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department. The attorney also had paid school tuition for his child from escrowed funds. The court rejected claims of mitigation:
"The respondent asks this Court to consider the numerous character letters submitted by satisfied clients, as well as those submitted by religious and business leaders with whom he regularly comes in contact. He emphasizes the remedial and preventative measures he has put in place and insists that there is no admission or proof of knowing and willful misconduct. The respondent further asks this Court to note that no law school courses ever taught him the rules of ethics which he is now alleged to have violated. He claims that as a private practitioner, he has had no role models to follow. He asks this Court to consider the devastating effect that the loss of his law license would have upon his wife and children, who rely on him for ongoing support.
Notwithstanding the mitigation advanced and the respondent's claimed lack of venality, his arguments evince a fundamental ignorance of the disciplinary rules regarding proper maintenance of an escrow account. Throughout his testimony, the respondent claimed confusion and a faulty memory with respect to dates. This led the Special Referee to conclude that the respondent had a persistent lack of candor when confronted by the Grievance Committee. " (Mike Frisch)