Wednesday, February 17, 2010
An Arizona Hearing Officer has recommended a censure and one year of probation in a disciplinary matter imvolving two unrelated counts. The attorney was serving as personal representative and trustee of a trust. He continued to serve in that capacity after closing his law office while suffering from depression. He confused his personal money market account with the trust accounts and negligently missapropriated entrusted funds. He also failed to personally appear for a court hearing, although he participated by telephone. When he was informed of the problem by his bank, he self-reported the conduct the Bar and made full restitution.
The second count involved conduct after he had closed his law office and moved to Bisbee, Arizona. He was involved in a public confrontation with six or seven people in Bisbee and drew a weapon, contending that he had been threatened by a person with a knife.
Bar Counsel concluded that the trust violations were the more serious matters as the attorney had pled to a misdemeanor and completed the conditions imposed in the criminal case. There were findings that the attorney was in a "substantial depressive episode" at the time of both matters. He also had a 28 year "distinguihed legal career" with no prior discipline. (Mike Frisch)