Wednesday, June 25, 2008
An Oklahoma lawyer who was disbarred as a result of convictions for stalking and felony distribution or attempted distribution of obscene or indecent material was granted post-conviction relief after the disbarment order. The relief reduced the felonies to misdemeanors. He then sought a modification of the disbarment to a retroactive one-year suspension as a result.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court noted that there is no formal process for such relief but denied modification on the merits:
The fact that the respondent's misconduct has more recently been described as a misdemeanor rather than a felony has no effect on this court's decision to disbar the respondent. We acknowledge that in no prior disciplinary case has an attorney been disbarred for committing a misdemeanor. We also recognize that "[i]n determining the proper discipline this Court compares the circumstances of the involved case with those of similar previous disciplinary cases involving other attorneys." Nevertheless, this comparison is made to determine "how best to serve the welfare of the public and the integrity of the bar." Moreover, as noted by this court in its original determination to disbar the respondent, "this Court has recognized that the extent of discipline must be decided on a case-by-case basis because each situation will usually involve different transgressions and different mitigating circumstances"
The respondent's "conduct involved multiple victims and occurred over a lengthy period of time."... "The most egregious transgression(s), in our view, attempted to envelope an innocent minor in his obsessive scheme of relentless harassment."In determining the respondent must be disbarred we clearly focused on the nature of the crimes committed.
The original misconduct grew out of the lawyer's obsession with his former secretary. (Mike Frisch)