Tuesday, April 21, 2009
A lawyer was suspended by consent for four months in South Carolina, retroactive to an interim suspension, in connection with five matters. Three involved speeding--one driving 140 mph in a 70 zone. A fourth matter involved a traffic stop during which marijuana was discovered. The charges were dismissed but the lawyer admitted he may have made misleading statements to the police.
The court described the remaining matter:
On September 21, 2007, respondent took his dog to a veterinary clinic for treatment. Later the same day, respondent called the clinic to speak with the veterinarian. The office manager informed respondent that the veterinarian was with a customer and unable to take his telephone call. According to the office manager, respondent used vile and profane language during the conversation. The office manager filed an incident report with the police department and, as a result, respondent was charged with unlawful use of a telephone.
On November 19, 2008, respondent’s case was heard before a Spartanburg Magistrate. Respondent’s counsel moved to dismiss the charge arguing that an unlawful use of telephone charge required that the telephone call be made with the intent and sole purpose of conveying an unsolicited obscene or imminently threatening message or to harass the recipient. Respondent’s counsel asserted the purpose of respondent’s telephone call to the veterinary clinic was neither unsolicited nor made for the sole purpose of harassing or threatening the office manager. The magistrate dismissed the charge against respondent.
Respondent admits he used some inappropriate language during his telephone conversation with the office manager. He represents that, at the time of the incident, he was very emotional due to the condition of his pet. Respondent apologizes for his conduct.
Is speeding really an ethical violation? The 140 mph case was pled down to 92 mph. Under the circumstances, I'd be more concerned about the driver's license than the law license. (Mike Frisch)