Wednesday, May 11, 2011
A "veteran Arkansas criminal defense attorney" was cautioned by a panel of the Committee on Professional Conduct as a result of a felony drug possession conviction. The possession took place in the lobby of a public bank.
The attorney maintained his innocence and contended that the conduct did not violate disciplinary rules. He testified that he had "no specific recollection" of having possessed drugs in the bank lobby. He did admit an alcohol problem and recreational drug use. He enrolled in the Bar's assistance program and has been clean in their drug tests since May 2009.
The panel found that the attorney engaged in criminal conduct but not conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. Four members voted for a sanction of caution while three voted for a reprimand.
The matter was appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court as the Committe's Executive Director had sought disbarment. The court disagreed and remanded the case to the panel. The court's order describes the misconduct in greater detail than the committee decision. The attorney had dropped his baggie in the lobby and been identified by a surveillance camera. (Mike Frisch)