Monday, October 20, 2008
The full Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the denial of admission to a bar applicant. The "most troubling" incident in his background related to his efforts to collect a debt:
According to the complaint submitted by the attorney, Desy worked as an independent contractor for a company run by the attorney's family. The company, apparently due to financial difficulties, failed to pay Desy in a timely manner for all of his work. Desy commenced actions in small claims proceedings and prevailed, obtaining money judgments against the company. Subsequently, by electronic mail (e-mail) to the company's principal manager dated December 9, 2003, Desy claimed (falsely) to have attached property belonging to the company and to the manager, threatened to have the property seized, threatened to have trustee process served on the company's customers, and threatened to have the manager's wife and daughter arrested. One of the e-mail messages specifically threatened to have the manager's wife arrested at 6 A.M. on Christmas Day or on another holiday. In fact, Desy had not commenced any process for collection of the judgments. The falsehood, the baseless threats, and the timing of these messages--Desy was then a law student about to submit an application for admission to the bar, see note 1, supra--reflect poorly on Desy's character. When he was interviewed by special counsel about this matter, he asserted evasively that he did not remember exactly what he had written, but acknowledged that he did "rant and rave." In his brief to this court, Desy does not address this matter.
The court found that the character testimony presented by the applicant was unhelpful and that the "threatening and harassing e-mail messages, strongly suggest dishonesty, poor judgment, and a willingness to misuse the judicial process." The full court also rejected the applicant's legal attacks on the proceedings of the Board of Bar Examiners.
If the link does not work, the case is Desy v. Board of Bar Examiners, SJC-10069, decided today. (Mike Frisch)