June 20, 2008
Problems Do Not Prevent Reinstatement
An attorney suspended for attempted income tax evasion was reinstated to practice by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. the attorney had two felony convictions prior to law school and had pardoned for those offenses by Governor Tommy Thompson. There also had been issues with the operation of her trust account and withdrawal from two cases after suspension. Further, there had been information sought that was not properly disclosed on the reinstatement questionnaire. Nonetheless:
Although the items discussed above clearly worked against Attorney Washington's reinstatement petition, the referee emphasized that Attorney Washington had exhibited genuine remorse for her conduct at the reinstatement hearing. The referee noted that Attorney Washington had readily conceded that she did not suffer from a lack of disposable income during the years in which she had misrepresented her income on her federal income tax returns. The referee also stated that while others may have attempted to excuse her misconduct as a result of a lack of business acumen or inadequate clerical support, Attorney Washington did not attempt to use any such excuses. In addition to accepting responsibility for her wrongdoing, Attorney Washington
also convinced the referee that she has a genuine intention to repay her outstanding back taxes.
It is somewhat unusual to see so many negative factors raised in a reinstatement proceeding that results in readmission. (Mike Frisch)
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