Thursday, September 18, 2008
A former state senator who had served as majority or minority leader of the state senate was reinstated to practice by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He had been suspended for two years as a result of a felony conviction for misconduct in office and being party to campaign contributions in excess of the legal limits. The court concluded:
We note that Attorney Chvala had practiced law for more than 20 years without ever having been subject to professional discipline prior to his current suspension. In addition, although Attorney Chvala's professional misconduct arose in the course of his work as a state senator and was a serious breach of the public trust, it did not directly relate to his work as a practicing lawyer representing clients. Based on the referee's findings of fact, we have no reason to believe that Attorney Chvala will not comport himself in accordance with his professional obligations as an attorney, and we therefore grant Attorney Chvala's petition for reinstatement.
I have no idea whether reinstatement is appropriate here. I do not think that criminal conduct is any less serious if committed while in public office as opposed to in connection with the practice of law. (Mike Frisch)