March 8, 2010
The Arizona Disciplinary Commission has adopted a hearing officer recommendation of a four year suspension with two years probation upon reinstatement for an attorney who had practiced while suspended for non-payment of annual dues and failed to participate in the disciplinary process. Commissioner Todd dissented and concluded that the sanction should be disbarment:
Nothing in the record suggests that [the attorney] was unable to pay her bar dues following her June 2008 suspension for non-payment or that she was unaware of the obligation. Rather, the record reflects that she was paid $55,000 in public monies to practice law while suspended. Then during the disciplinary proceedings she failed to cooperate, to appear, or to explain. Granted as a practical matter under the circumstances, a 4 year suspension is essentially the same as disbarment without the label of disbarment. Here, I believe the label matters and it would be appropriate.
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