January 13, 2011
No Second Bite
The Washington State Supreme Court has disbarred an attorney convicted on plea of guilty to securities and wire fraud. The court rejected the attorney's claim that the bar rule that the conviction conclusively establishes the criminal conduct violates due process of law:
[The attorney] mistakenly refers to the use of his federal conviction in disciplinary proceedings as a "presumption." The ability of disciplinary counsel to utilize [his] felony conviction at the disciplinary proceeding is not a mere "presumption" but is a collateral consequence of his criminal conviction. Convicted felons face a variety of nonpunitive collateral consequences in addition to their punitive criminal sentence. See In re Reinstatement of Walgren, 104 Wn.2d 557, 569, 708 P.2d 380 (1985) \(discussing collateral consequences of a felony conviction under Washington law). The lawful judgment of a federal court is not a mere "presumption,"and its use in collateral proceedings is legally unproblematic.
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