April 9, 2009
A Matter Of Trust
Yesterday I posted a comment about a consent disposition in the District of Columbia that had generated some controversy and a dissent. Today, the Minnesota Supreme Court shows how consent to discipline works in a disciplinary system that is experienced and comfortable with the consent process. The attorney had used the expired notary stamp of a deceased notary, altered the expiration date, fraudulently notarized her own signature on a certificate of trust and submitted the document to a bank.
Sounds pretty serious. The disciplinary counsel and the attorney agreed to a nine-month suspension with a requirement that the attorney petition for reinstatement. The court adopted the recommendation after its review of the file: "We have previously recognized that the [disciplinary counsel] is 'in the best position to weigh the costs and risks of litigation and determine when a stipulated discipline will best serve the interests of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board.' "
A court's trust of the wisdom and judgment of its disciplinary counsel is an essential element of a successful system of attorney regulation. (Mike Frisch)
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