Thursday, December 9, 2010
In a victory for common sense and negotiated sanctions, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals held that a criminal conviction may be the subject of an agreed disposition after the court has referred the conviction for a moral turpitude inquiry. The question was one of first impression. In D.C., a conviction for an offense involving moral turpitude requires disbarment pursuant to a provision of the District of Columbia Code.
The attorney was convicted of false entries in an FCC matter. He was suspended as a result of the conviction in August 2006. A hearing committee was convened and the parties submitted a petition for a negotiated sanction. Pursuant to guidelines set forth by the Board on Professional Responsibility, a hearing committee "evaluate[d] the thoroughness of Bar Counsel's investigation into the matter" and approved the petition.
The court found no evidence of moral turpitude and imposed a one year suspension, which has been fully served. In the criminal case, the government conceded that it could not prove that the attorney had knowingly signed false documents. (Mike Frisch)