Tuesday, September 21, 2010
An attorney convicted of a criminal offense was suspended for three months by the New YorkAppellate Division for the First Judicial Department. The court set out the facts:
On March 21, 2007, respondent was stopped by the Nassau County police, who impounded his car due to various outstanding motor vehicle infractions. Upon inspection the police found that the vehicle bore a registration sticker which had been forged to reflect an incorrect expiration date.
Respondent admitted to cutting out numbers from the registration sticker of his wife's car and affixing them to his own vehicle's registration sticker. Respondent also altered his car's registration sticker so as to make it reflect an inaccurate expiration date. Respondent knew his actions were illegal.
When stopped by the police, respondent was aware that his car had been uninsured for a year and a half and was not currently registered or inspected. He had been driving the car with a forged registration sticker since February 2004, knew that he was driving with a suspended license, had failed to answer a traffic summons and had outstanding motor vehicle infractions and violations.
Respondent testified that he no longer drives and instead commutes to his office by public transportation. He acknowledged that his conduct was wrong and proffered his wife's illness, marital turmoil and financial difficulties as the reasons forsuch conduct. In aggravation, the Hearing Panel considered respondent's failure to report his criminal conviction to the Committee as required by 22 NYCRR 603.12(f). The Hearing Panel also considered respondent's failure to provide it with proof of the satisfaction of a $20,610 New York State tax judgment as well as documentation of payments towards other outstanding liens and judgments entered against respondent. These outstanding liens and judgments include a $47,687 federal tax lien and judgments in the amounts of $4,834 and $20,146. The Hearing Panel also considered respondent's failure to notify his law firm employer of his conviction as evidence that he has not accepted responsibility for his misconduct. On the other hand, the Hearing Panel considered respondent's expression of remorse, the fact that his misconduct did not affect his law practice or cause harm to the public and the absence of a prior disciplinary record as mitigating factors.