Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lawyer Voyeur Suspended

From the web page of the Ohio Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court of Ohio today imposed an indefinite license suspension against [a]Cuyahoga Falls attorney...for engaging in illegal voyeuristic conduct that resulted in his conviction on multiple criminal counts including felony charges of intercepting electronic or oral communications and pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor. [His] law license was suspended on an interim basis in February 2008, after the Court received notice of his felony convictions.

The Court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline that, although [his] criminal acts were not committed in the performance of his duties as a lawyer, they violated the state attorney discipline rules that prohibit an attorney from engaging in criminal conduct involving moral turpitude and from engaging in conduct that reflects adversely on the attorney’s fitness to practice law. 

In imposing an indefinite license suspension, with credit for the months. [He] has been under interim suspension, the Court noted that this sanction requires a disciplined attorney seeking reinstatement to go through an extensive application process in which he must demonstrate that he has recovered the capacity to engage in the competent and ethical practice of law. The Court also imposed special conditions for reinstatement based on the nature of [his] offenses, including no additional misconduct and proof of continuing successful psychiatric treatment and compliance with a recovery contract with the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program.

The misconduct had its genesis in the attorney's discovery that he could sometimes hear people in his apartment complex having sexual relations. He "started placing a recording device inconspicuously outside apartment windows so he could record residents' sexual activity and later listen to the recording for sexual gratification." A resident saw him and reported to the police. A search of his apartment revealed a substantial amount of child pornography and a "peep hole" that allowed him to view the female resident of the apartment next door.

The attorney presented the testimony of his psychiatrist (an expert in clinical sexuality) that he is being treated for paraphilia, "a condition generated by 'the clash between individual sexual interest and the social rules governing sexual behavior.' " The court expresses concern about whether the attorney can afford recovery treatment, but leaves the issue to a reinstatement hearing. One justice would permanently disbar.

The court's decision is linked here. Additional details from the (Cuyahoga) FallsNewsPress. (Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2009/08/lawyer-voyeur-suspended.html

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