Tuesday, March 16, 2010
A summary of a bar discipline matter from the web page of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers:
The respondent provided legal services to a client in a variety of matters between 1998 and 2001. The respondent also socialized with this client and lived in her home from approximately 1999 into 2001.
The client was the mother of a severely disabled child who lived with her in the late 1990’s until about 2001. In January 2005, the father was awarded sole custody of this child, and the mother moved to California.
The child was a registered owner of a disability placard issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Both of the child’s parents possessed duplicate copies of this placard. Sometime prior to 2005, the child’s disability placard in her mother’s custody went missing. From February 2005 until about August 2007, the respondent intentionally used the child’s disability placard to defend against parking tickets he received in Boston, including but not limited to parking in handicapped parking areas. The respondent wrote appeal letters to the office of the parking clerk requesting dismissal of various parking tickets by falsely claiming that he was transporting the disabled child to medical appointments at the times the tickets were issued and enclosing a photocopy of the child’s disability placard as proof. The respondent had no contact with the child and knew that he was not entitled or authorized to use the disability placard.
On April 5, 2007, a research analyst employed in the office of the parking clerk requested that the respondent provide a letter signed by the owner of the disability placard stating that the respondent was transporting her at the time of the violation. The respondent fabricated or caused to be fabricated at least two letters purporting to be from the disabled child. Both letters falsely claimed that the respondent was transporting the child to appointments at the time the tickets were issued. The respondent signed or caused the child’s name to be signed to the letters. The respondent submitted these letters to the office of the parking clerk.
The respondent’s use of the disability placard to seek dismissals of parking tickets violated Mass. R. Prof. C. Rule 3.3(a)(1¬) and (4) and 8.4 (c), and (h). His intentionally false statements to the office of the parking clerk to avoid paying parking tickets violated Mass. R. Prof. C. Rule 3.3(a)(1) and (4) and 8.4(d) and (h). His conduct in providing fabricated letters to the office of the parking clerk to avoid paying parking tickets violated Mass. R. Prof. C. Rule 3.3(a)(1) and (4) and 8.4 (a),(c),(d) and (h).
The respondent also had a relative who had a disability placard issued by the registry of motor vehicles in 1998, which was due to expire on April 9, 2003. The respondent’s relative died in 2002. On April 30, 2007, the respondent altered the expiration date and displayed this placard in his car at a metered space in Boston without paying the meter. The respondent’s conduct in altering the expiration date of the disability placard and displaying the altered placard in his motor vehicle to avoid paying parking fees violated 8.4(c), 8.4(d) and 8.4(h).
In aggravation, the respondent was previously publicly reprimanded in Matter of Corben, 21 Mass. Att’y Disc. R. 135 (2005).
The matter came before the Board of Bar Overseers on a stipulation of facts and rule violations and a joint recommendation for a suspension of one year and one day. The Board voted to accept the stipulation and joint recommendation, and, on December 30, 2009, the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County (Botsford, J.), ordered that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for one year and one day, effective in thirty days.
The case is Matter of Corben, January 29, 2010. (Mike Frisch)