Thursday, October 13, 2011
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals approved a consent disposition and imposed a public censure on an attorney who engaged in an intimate relationship with former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick while serving as a court-appointed monitor of two consent judgments involving the city. The court agreed that the sanction was appropriate in light of comparable violations of Rule 8.4 that involved criminal contempt.
This is truly wonderful news. An ad hoc hearing committee had submitted its recommendation for consent discipline exactly a month ago. Notably, the committee found no comparable case and the court did not find the absence of precedent a reason to reject the consent.
Now the case is over. No remand or questions for the Board on Professional Responsibility. Maybe there is a divine force that puts things right in time.
In my view (familiar to blog readers), any day the D.C. court approves a consent is a good day. When the court approves two (as it did today), the gods of discipline are smiling.
The second case - In re Dennis Clarke - was submitted on August 18. The case involves conceded billing misconduct with significant mitigating factors. The sanction is a 90 day suspension with all but 30 days stayed and probation for two years. I can testify from personal experience that if a case like this was essentially uncontested but had to go through the full process, a result like this might well be reached in 2015.
Both cases were decided by the same division of judges - Associate Judge Fisher, Associate Judge Retired Reid and Senior Judge Nebeker.
Our prior coverage of the first case here. (Mike Frisch)