Wednesday, May 28, 2008
In an effort to find interesting or informative bar discipline matters, we often stumble on bar web pages that provide easy access to disciplinary reports. The web page of Arizona bar matters has a case decided in January in which the Disciplinary Commission had approved a consent disposition in a matter arising out of the lawyer's representation of a defendant charged with first degree murder.
The attorney wished to serve two Native American witnesses and learned that they were attending a Halloween dance on the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation. After several unsucessful attempts at service and as the trial "rapidly approached," the lawyer and her law clerk concocted a "ruse" to serve the witnesses by creating a ficticious coupon for a ficticious beer: "Zepher Lager." One witness was served while filling out contact information for a free Zepher Lager at a later date. To make matters worse, the event was part of Alcohol Awareness Night on the reservation, although the attorney was unaware of that fact. The hearing officer noted that "Members of...the tribe who learned of Respondent's ruse were embarrassed and offended."
The Arizona Supreme Court placed the attorney on probation until she completes the Ethics Enhancement Program, "which shall be completed in one year." (Mike Frisch)