Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Close Enough To Disbar

The New York Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department disbarred an attorney who practiced in Michigan. The attorney had been disbarred in Michigan as a result of a plea of no contest to one felony count of driving while intoxicated. The court  here concluded that summary disbarment was appropriate in New York even though the crime is not the "mirror image" of the analogue felony offense in New York. So long as the two crimes are essentially similar, the conviction requires disbarment in New York. (Mike Frisch)

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Comments

Mike, interesting post because they do seem to be stretching it more than they usually do. I seem to recall your reporting another Michigan case where DUI was not even worthy of discipline because it was not done in the practice of law. This one led to a felony conviction, I know, but that is a huge range of sanction disparity for a similar non-law-practicing offense: no discipline at all vs. disbarment.

Posted by: Alan Childress | Oct 21, 2008 11:07:13 AM

Did you notice that the supposed attorney of record is a Michigan attorney? He is not admitted in New York. In fact, the respondent did not appear ("Although respondent's attorney was served with this motion, no one has filed an opposition on respondent's behalf.") The First Department made no effort to address the personal jurisdiction issue.

Indeed, look at the 14 October case of In re Tillman (2008 NY Slip Op 07758). Despite acknowledging that this was a very hard fought case, and that the respondent had raised numerous defences:

>>> Respondent, pro se, opposes the petition in its entirety, arguing, among other things: his demand for discovery and an adjournment was wrongfully denied; prosecutorial misconduct by the Committee; the findings of misconduct were not supported by the credible evidence; reversible errors were committed by the Referee; the complaint was five years old when acted upon and the Committee had prior notice of his intention to sue the complainant but did nothing; and a vigorous defense does not constitute lack of remorse or an admission of guilt as found by the Referee. <<<

And that the Committee had briefed many of these issues, the First Department made no effort whatsoever to address or resolve any of them and simply continued blithely ahead as if they had not been made.

This is par for the court in the First Department.

Stephen

Posted by: FixedWing | Oct 21, 2008 1:00:54 PM

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