February 8, 2011
Lawyer Gone Wild
The South Carolina Supreme Court has imposed a definite suspension of 90 days in a case involving the following facts:
In March 22, 2009, respondent self-reported his arrest for Aggravated Battery to ODC. The arrest occurred as a result of a bar fight between respondent and three other individuals on March 15, 2009, in Savannah, Georgia, during which one of the other individuals was struck in the head and/or face with a beer bottle. Respondent represented that alcohol was involved in the incident and independently sought treatment for alcohol abuse and anger management.
On October 26, 2010, respondent entered into a negotiated plea for Aggravated Battery and received a five (5) year probationary sentence with special conditions, including payment of restitution and community service. The sentencing order contains a provision that respondent will be considered eligible for termination of probation upon the completion of any period of suspension of his law license in South Carolina. Respondent has entered into a restitution agreement and has fully complied with the agreement by paying $40,000 in restitution. Respondent has been forthright and fully cooperative with ODC.
The case is Matter of Wild. (Mike Frisch)
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Well, he deserves credit for self reporting, and seeking treatment. The conduct is hardly exemplary, but he is to be commended in how he is dealing with the aftermath.
Posted by: Franco Tarulli | Feb 8, 2011 7:10:21 AM
The cynic might argue that the lawyer was just being smart in seeking treatment and self-reporting. Seeking treatment, no doubt, helped him stay out of jail and self-reporting makes him look good to the disciplinary authorities. And he surely realised that the disciplinary authorities would find out about this sooner or later. Indeed, isn’t this exactly the advice that a good lawyer (criminal or professional ethics) would give to his client?
What I find interesting is that the criminal penalty, i.e. the probationary period, is now going to be determined by the disciplinary authorities. Based upon this latest order, it seems that the lawyer’s criminal probation sentence might now be reduced from five years to 90 days. Doesn’t this make lawyers rather special? Can anyone imagine any other criminal defendant that would be able to turn to his professional regulators for a “get out of jail free” card?
Seems to me that this lawyer is not just handy in a barroom brawl, but also seems to be pretty good at working the lawyer disciplinary and criminal systems. But then, what else would one expect from a lawyer?
Posted by: FixedWing | Feb 9, 2011 11:14:28 AM