Monday, March 16, 2009
The Arkansas Supreme Court ordered disbarment of an attorney who had previously been disciplined in that state and was on interim suspension in the proceedings. The Bar's Executive Director had filed a series of amended petitions after his initial charging document. The amendments added charges to prior allegations as well as new charges in follow on cases. The accused lawyer defaulted on the charges but contested the legality of the amended petitions. The court rejected the procedural attack. The amended petitions are allowed under the Arkansas procedures and do not violate the accused lawyer's due process rights so long as the lawyer is on fair notice of the allegations.
One interesting point in the decision--the lawyer claimed that the executive director showed "clear personal bias" and that the Bar's brief was " replete with sarcasm and vituperation masquerading as legal argument." The court agreed that the "brief [was] unprofessional in tone and improper in some of its content." Nonetheless, disbarment was imposed. (Mike Frisch)