Monday, November 24, 2008

Breaking News

A hearing committee in the District of Columbia has recommended a 90 day suspension of former White House domestic policy advisor Claude Allen. The hearing committee accepted a stipulation of facts and concluded that the conviction did not involve a crime of moral turpitude, which would require disbarment under D.C. Code section 11-2503:

Here, the Hearing Committee finds that Bar Counsel has not provided any evidence that Respondent’s actions were of a vile or depraved nature justifying a finding of moral turpitude based on the facts. Simply committing a fraudulent act that is a misdemeanor does not rise to moral turpitude by itself. Furthermore, while the Hearing Committee agrees with Bar Counsel that Respondent’s actions were not designed to benefit...we cannot agree that the actions could be pecuniary in nature. Respondent did not profit from his crime. The stolen items had a nominal value and the evidence shows that Respondent did not need the items for personal use. Therefore, Respondent’s actions, while dishonest, fraudulent and immoral, do not cross over into the realm of moral turpitude.

The accused had engaged in a scheme to fraudulently return items to Target and was convicted of theft of property valued at less than $500. (Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2008/11/breaking-news.html

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Tracked on Nov 25, 2008 7:44:17 AM

Comments

Since when is $850 an inconsequential amount? I know many people in the District of Columbia who would consider this a considerable amount. How can one possibly claim that the attorney did not profit from his acts?

And is it really relevant that Target did not have better systems in place to catch this sort of theft? Is it really relevant that the attorney’s deception was similar to the deception of every other criminal who steals from stores?

How can the attorney’s actions, which clearly show a scheme to steal which was repeated three (or more) times, not be evidence which goes to his ability to be trusted to practice law?

Why was this case not handled as a reciprocal discipline matter with an automatic suspension based on the 90 day suspension in the foreign jurisdictions?

Why did Bar Counsel seek an automatic suspension? And having sought one, why did Bar Counsel then not pursue the matter?

How can one not be left with the impression that this particular attorney has been given a free ride? This is a very troubling report.

Stephen

Posted by: FixedWing | Nov 24, 2008 9:47:38 AM

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