Friday, March 20, 2009

Fire Leads To Conviction, Revocation

From the web page of the Ohio Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court of Ohio today permanently revoked the law license of former Fairfield County Municipal Court Judge Don S. McAuliffe for multiple violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Code of Judicial Conduct arising from his criminal conduct in burning down a house he owned in order to defraud an insurance company. McAuliffe has been under an interim license suspension since the Court was notified of his 2004 felony convictions on federal charges of mail fraud, conspiracy, use of fire to commit mail fraud and money laundering

Because the professional misconduct charges against McAuliffe arose from his criminal convictions, the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline granted his request to stay its disciplinary proceedings against him until his appeals contesting those convictions had been adjudicated in the federal court system. That process was finally completed in late 2007, when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a ruling by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirming his convictions.

In today’s decision, the Court adopted the commissioners’ findings that McAuliffe had violated the state attorney discipline rules that prohibit illegal conduct involving moral turpitude; conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice; and conduct that reflects adversely on an attorney’s fitness to practice. The Court also found violations of the state judicial conduct rules that require judges to comply with the law at all times and to avoid impropriety.

In affirming the board’s recommendation of permanent disbarment as the appropriate sanction, the Court reiterated its holding in a 1998 judicial discipline case that:  “When a judge’s felonious conduct brings disrepute to the judicial system, the institution is irreparably harmed. ... By this sanction, we aim to protect both the public and the integrity of the judicial system itself.”

The court's opinion is linked here. (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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