December 12, 2011
The New Jersey Approach
The forgiving nature of attorney discipline in New Jersey is again on display in a decision in which the Supreme Court accepted the recommendation of its Disciplinary Review Board (DRB) to censure an attorney.
The attorney had been suspended for three months. He failed to file the required affidavit demonstrating compliance with the suspension order. He then failed to participate in the ensuing bar proceedings. The Office of Attorney Ethics sought a three-month suspension.
The DRB wasn't buying. The board's analysis of precedent led it to conclude that no further suspension was appropriate.
In another case, the attorney was censured for "engaging in the practice of issuing trust checks against uncollected funds" which resulted in negligent misappropriation. He had been reprimanded in 1998 for filing false unemployment insurance claims and again in 2009 for a conflict of interest and failure to withdraw from representation.
And there is more: Here is a decision that proclaims that the attorney's "cavalier attitude toward the disciplinary system cannot be tolerated." Intolerance equals reprimand.
There was a time when New Jersey had the reputation for being tough on attorney misconduct. That time has obviously long since passed. (Mike Frisch)
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