Wednesday, May 6, 2009
An Arizona hearing officer has recommended that a consent agreement for a 30 day suspension followed by two years probation be imposed in a matter in which the lawyer represented the husband in a custody dispute. The matter was complicated by the fact that only the father was a U.S. citizen. On a scheduled hearing day, the judge asked the lawyer if he was ready to proceed for three hours. He falsely responded that he had a scheduled court matter elsewhere. The judge later checked and discovered the false assertion.
At a contempt proceeding, the lawyer claimed marital problems and the theft of his briefcase from his car the night before the custody hearing: "so I was in an emotionally frazzled state during the hearing." The judge had imposed $1,000 fee award in favor of opposing counsel.
The hearing officer here accepts the consent disposition with some misgivings, noting that the lawyer was already on probation for unrelated misconduct at the time that this incident occured. (Mike Frisch)