Wednesday, August 12, 2009
An Oregon Trial Panel imposed a public reprimand on an attorney convicted of public indecency. The attorney had driven around a mall while masturbating. He was observed and reported by a mall employee and identified through security cameras.
The panel took pains to explain its decision regarding sanction:
The conduct of the Accused need not be described here. We need only emphasize the obvious: It was shameful, contemptible and hurtful. A young woman in a very public place became the random victim of the Accused's shocking behavior. We do not know whether other women or children noticed [his] disgusting behavior as he drove around the parking lot of a major urban shopping center at mid-day. We do know that his behavior has caused needless hurt and humiliation to his family, shocked his friends, and saddened his colleagues. It is behavior offensive to social values and expectations, not just of lawyers but of responsible and upright citizens, generally.
Despite the fact that this Trial Panel has conscientiously applied the ABA Standards for Sanction in light of Oregon case law, we know that there are many in the general public who will be outraged that the only sanction the Accused receives from the Bar is a public reprimand. In this, too, the Accused's conduct has brought disrepute on his profession.
Let no one mistake a public reprimand as condoning such behavior. Far from it, we have faith that any repetition...will be regarded as intentional and willful disrespect for the law and contempt for his profession, warranting sanctions at least as heavy as those imposed in [cases imposing suspension].