Thursday, May 22, 2008
An attorney with a long history of bar disciplinary matters was reinstated in November 2001 on five years of supervised probation. In 2006, the Director (i.e. Bar Counsel) brought probation violation charges, alleging a failure to provide information in connection with the probation, failure to timely file income tax returns and his conviction for fifth degree assault. The Minnesota Supreme Court sustained the findings of a probation violation. The court found that the failures to provide information were not as aggravated as in the earlier bar cases("[t]he relationship between [the attorney] and the Director during [the attorney's] probation period was often strained, at best"). Further, the untimely tax filings are not as bad as failures to ever file and the attorney had no income during the period at issue. The court imposed public reprimand and a further year of unsupervised probation with a requirement that he satisfy a judgment arising from a Wisconsin disciplinary matter. He had previously complied with other financial obligations imposed as conditions of probation.
The assault? He punched a man at his son's basketball game. The court concludes that such conduct, unrelated to the practice of law, did not amount to an ethical violation. (Mike Frisch)