March 11, 2008
Misconduct Found By Default
The Arkansas Supreme Court reprimanded and fined an attorney who represented a client in a capital murder trial and appeal. The attorney filed two motions to withdraw from the appeal, stating that the "client did not pay the agreed fee for representation in the matter." The motions were denied and the attorney was directed to file a brief. He sought and was granted an extension. When the court denied the second motion to withdraw, it "declared [the client] indigent, and appointed [the attorney] to represent [the client] on appeal." The attorney then filed the brief within the period granted by the court.
However, the court referred the matter to the Office of Professional Conduct. The attorney was charged with failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness, failure to comply with an Arkansas rule that requires trial counsel to continue to represent the client on appeal unless granted leave to withdraw and failure to follow appellate rules and procedures. The attorney defaulted on the charges. Maybe he should have defended against the charges. (Mike Frisch)
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