May 17, 2008
A Failed Gamble
The Kansas Supreme Court indefinitely suspended an attorney with the right to apply for reinstatement after six months for a pattern of failure to file and pay federal income taxes, resulting in a misdemeanor criminal conviction. He asserted mitigation on the basis of "occupational and single episode depression" and suggested that the misconduct was not a pattern:
Lovelace takes exception to the hearing panel's finding with respect to "A Pattern of Misconduct," arguing the final hearing report does not reflect Lovelace's testimony that he made failed attempts to remedy his tax problems by playing the stock market. He apparently does not dispute, however, that clear and convincing evidence supports the hearing panel's finding that he engaged in a pattern of misconduct. Lovelace's testimony indicated that in 1998 or 1999, he lost $40,000 to $50,000 to stock market investing. Then in 2000, Lovelace attempted to play the stock market again but lost approximately triple the amount he had lost previously. At the hearing, however, Lovelace acknowledged that, if he had paid the large sums of money towards his taxes instead of playing the stock market, he would not be in this "situation."
The court also considered the argument of the Disciplinary Administrator that the attorney should be transferred to disability inactive status and conditioned reinstatement on satisfactory evidence of the attorney's mental and physical fitness to practice, if sought by the Administrator. (Mike Frisch)
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