September 8, 2009
Fargo Part Two
An attorney was suspended for two years by the North Dakota Supreme Court based on the following instances of non practice-related misconduct:
[The attorney] was convicted in Fargo Municipal Court of two misdemeanors involving theft. The items taken were a Vulcan folding knife, valued at $124.99, on August 1, 2008, and a Pasayten knife, valued at $179.00, on May 24, 2008. Both thefts were from a Fargo store.
The court noted a prior similar incident:
The Hearing Panel found that ten years ago [the attorney] was disciplined by the Supreme Court for stealing a "Buck Tool" with an approximate value of $59.99, from a Grand Forks store, and for conviction of a class B misdemeanor of theft of two pair of walking shorts in Cass County District Court. In that matter, [he] received a suspension from the practice of law for 24 months, stayed on the condition that he commit no further acts of theft during that 24-month period.
The Hearing Panel further found that after his 1997 shoplifting incidents, [he] sought care for his preexisting depression and compulsive shopping. During the intervening eleven years,[he] had no other convictions nor any further discipline. [The attorney] maintained an active law practice prior to and after his 1997 convictions. None of the events for which [he] was previously disciplined nor the events of the current Petition involve any client funds or cases. After[his] convictions for the 2008 shoplifting events, he sought further help for the problems he was having and was diagnosed with major depression and impulse control disorder of kleptomania. [The attorney] has been receiving treatment since October 2008. The Hearing Panel found that [he] was remorseful for the impact his actions have had on his family, friends and law partners; and he has been open and truthful about the incidents which resulted in the prior discipline as well as the thefts resulting in the current disciplinary action.
The attorney was suspended on an interim basis as a result of the conviction. (Mike Frisch)
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