September 7, 2009
Self-Report Mitigates Sanction
An attorney who had devoted substantial effort to an appeal brief was unable to submit the brief in a timely manner. After five extensions and a court order directing that no further extensions be granted, the attorney decided to falsely represent that the brief had been mailed on time. The attorney placed a back-dated stamp on the envelope and falsely represented to the court that the brief was filed on time. In fact, the brief was four days late. The attorney had come forward and disclosed the deception to her client and the court after a "sleepless night." The court dismissed the appeal.
The Colorado Hearing Board imposed a suspension of one year and one day, with all but 60 days stayed, and probation for two years. The board gave significant mitigating weight to the attorney's "admirable action in self-reporting [the] misconduct." But for that factor, the board states that disbarment would be the appropriate sanction. (Mike Frisch)
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