Saturday, January 29, 2011
An Arizona hearing officer has recommended a suspension of 90 days and probation for two years in a complex case involving an attorney's investment advice to individuals he reasonably believed to be his clients as well as others he did not believe were clients. The investments were in a Ponzi scheme, although the attorney did not know it at the time. One of the victims was his (now former) mother in law. The attorney was convicted of four misdemeanor criminal offenses as a result. The attorney had no prior discipline in 35 years of practice
Some notable aspects. First, one of his character witnesses was retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who testified by telephone. She knows the attorney as a friend and through his work with her late husband. Second, the Bar called an ethics expert witness. Many disciplinary tribunals refuse to hear such testimony on the grounds that it is evidence on the ultimate question and thus inadmissible.
AZCentral.com had this report on the criminal matter. (Mike Frisch)