November 19, 2010
A Son For A Client
The Iowa Supreme Court has imposed a 60-day suspension in a matter that involves a 74 year old attorney who has practiced law for 45 years. The court accepted as binding a stipulation of facts but rejected the 30 day suspension recommended by its disciplinary board.
The attorney's son was charged with sex offenses against the son's stepdaughter. The attorney arranged for his surrender to authorities. Rather than surrender, the son kidnapped his spouse and biological daughter. The son was later arrested and incarcerated.
The spouse obtained a no contact order against the son and instituted divorce proceedings. The attorney represented the son. The spouse also had counsel.
The attorney met with the spouse (without the knowledge or permission of her counsel) and gave her a communication from the son in violation of the no contact order. He was charged with witness tampering but that charge was dismissed. He was then charged with suborning perjury and aiding the violation of the no contact order. He was acquitted of the perjury but convicted of the no contact violation, a misdemeanor offense.
At the meeting with the spouse, the attorney had discussed conditions that might lead to a favorable settlement of the divorce case. This discussion violated the rule against offering an inducement prohibited by law. One aggravating factor was a prior reprimand for dishonesty.
This link from TheMessenger relates details about the son's trial. (Mike Frisch)
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