Friday, June 13, 2008
An attorney, during the course of representing a client charged with assault, intentionally misrepresented his identity to a person who he believed to be the alleged assault victim. The attorney claimed to be a police officer, and left a voice mail message that advised the victim of an outstanding arrest warrant. The recipient called the prosecutor, who advised that there was no such warrant.
The lawyer was charged with and convicted of impersonating a police officer and intimidating a witness. The conviction was reversed on speedy trial grounds. Disciplinary charges were then brought. The trial judge found that the misconduct was motivated, in part, by anger at the prosecutor who had claimed (without evidentiary support) that the lawyer had altered a videotape that was potential evidence in the assault case. The trial court further found that the conduct was not motivated by greed or a win-at-all-costs mentality. The Maryland Court of Appeals imposed a six-month suspension. Bar Counsel had sought disbarment. (Mike Frisch)