Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stealing From Humane Society Draws Suspension

From the web page of the Ohio Supreme Court:

In a per curiam decision announced today, the Supreme Court of Ohio adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline that [the attorney] misappropriated funds from the Greene County Humane Society while serving as the society’s volunteer treasurer, and provided legal services to the humane society between 2000 and 2006, while [she] was serving as a full-time magistrate for the Greene County Domestic Relations Court.

The Court noted  that [the attorney] had served for many years as an unpaid advocate for abused and abandoned animals at considerable personal cost, and has since reimbursed the society for all of the missing funds. The Court held, however, that [her] multiple acts of misappropriation and submission of multiple false financial reports to the humane society board, in violation of the state attorney discipline rules that prohibit conduct involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty or misrepresentation and conduct that reflects adversely on an attorney’s fitness to practice law, called for an indefinite license suspension.

The majority opinion was joined by Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer and Justices Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Maureen O’Connor, Terrence O’Donnell, Judith Ann Lanzinger and Robert R. Cupp.  Justice Paul E. Pfeifer dissented, stating that he would impose a two-year license suspension as the appropriate sanction for [the] misconduct.

The attorney had also practiced law while serving as a magistrate.

The court states:

Her acts and omissions laid waste to the fundamentals of integrity and trustworthiness that members of the legal profession are bound by oath to embody. And because she was president of the Green County Bar Association and employed as the chief domestic relations magistrate when her transgressions came to light, respondent's ethical breaches tarnished the legal system all the more.

The decision is linked here. (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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