Tuesday, December 28, 2010
The Connecticut Supreme Court Court affirmed a second order of disbarment against an attorney which requires the attorney to wait five years from the judgment before seeking reinstatement. The case involved a letter written by the attorney in December 1995 that accused three Superior Court judges of misconduct.
A presentment of the charges was filed in December 2003. The attorney's motion to dismiss was granted in light of the November 2001 disbarment for unrelated misconduct. The dismissal was reversed by the Appellate Division, with a dissent.
The court rejected an array of claims including a contention that the charges exposed the attorney to double jeopardy. The court further rejected claims that the contentions in the letter at issue were true, submitted in good faith and protected free speech:
In the present case, the trial court determined that ‘‘the defendant failed to present any credible testimony to substantiate the allegations containedin the letter.’’ We conclude that the trial court’s conclusion is supported by the record. A review ofthe record in this case indicates that no evidence was proffered to prove that the defendant had an objective basis for her statements. The only evidence the defendant presented was her personal opinion as it related to a series of various court experiences. Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court’s finding that the defendant’s comments were either false, or made with reckless disregard to their truth or falseness, was not clearly erroneous.
As I read the decision (and I may be wrong), it appears that the effect of this decision is to extend the eligibility date for a reinstatement petition. (Mike Frisch)