Monday, April 19, 2010
From the web page of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseeers comes this disciplinary summary:
The respondent was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Department of Justice in the District of Columbia. From December 2004 through April 2005, the respondent was responsible for prosecuting a caseload of felony drug and gun charges. Between January and April 2005, the court dismissed six cases assigned to the respondent for want of prosecution because the respondent had failed adequately to prepare the cases for trial. In three cases, the respondent failed to order drug analyses sufficiently in advance of scheduled trial dates to have the analyses available for trial. In two other cases, the respondent failed to take necessary steps to secure the appearance at trial of the primary witnesses in the cases. In the sixth case, the respondent did not order a timely drug analysis, and he failed to take necessary steps to secure the appearance of necessary police witnesses. The District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct applied to the respondent’s conduct. See Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.5(b)(1). The respondent’s failure to prepare the six cases for trial violated District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, and 3.2.
The respondent failed without good cause to respond to bar counsel’s requests for information made in the course of investigating the respondent’s conduct in these cases. On March 11, 2009, the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County entered an order of immediate administrative suspension of the respondent’s license to practice law due to his failure to cooperate with the investigation. The order of administrative suspension required the respondent to comply with all of the provisions of S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 17, if the respondent was not reinstated within thirty days from the date of the order. The respondent was not reinstated by April 10, 2009. The respondent knowingly failed without good cause to comply with the order of administrative suspension and the requirements of S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 3(3) and § 17.
By intentionally failing without good cause to respond to requests for information from bar counsel made in the course of the processing of a complaint, the respondent violated S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 3(1)(b), and Mass. R. Prof. C. 3.4(c), 8.1(b) and 8.4(g). By failing to comply with the suspension order and S.J.C. Rule 4:01, §§ 3(3) and 17, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 3.4(c) and 8.4(d) and (h).
On October 26, 2009, bar counsel and the respondent filed a stipulation with the Board of Bar Overseers in which the respondent admitted to this misconduct and the cited rule violations. The stipulation recommended a suspension from the practice of law for one year and one day.
On January 11, 2010, the Board of Bar Overseers voted to accept the parties’ stipulation, and, on January 28, 2010, the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County, (Cordy, J.), ordered that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for one year and one day, effective immediately.
The case is Matter of Brooks. Note the choice of law aspect of the case applying the District of Columbia's ethical rules to a lawyer admitted to practice in Massachusetts(Mike Frisch)