February 29, 2012
Tears Prevent Disbarment
A single justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declined to follow a disbarment recommendation and instead imposed an indefinite suspension effective on the date of the attorney's 2007 temporary suspension.
The attorney was convicted of violating a protective order, harassment and intimidation of a witness. He also violated terms of probation.
The justice on sanction:
There is no reason to depart from the presumptive sanction in this case. However, I had an opportunity to observe the respondent for about forty-five minutes, including about thirty minutes for his own oral argument, and I could not help but think that he has unresolved emotional issues that in all likelihood contributed to his difficulties. He was reduced to tears twice during the hearing before me. Although he did not present any evidence in mitigation to the hearing panel, I honestly believe it exists and I am not inclined to order disbarment for this reason. I also note that, although not determinative, the misconduct in this case did not occur in the course of the practice of law.
The attorney must establish that he has "addressed his emotional issues" if he applies for reinstatement.
There may be no crying in baseball, but I guess it sometimes can work in court. (Mike Frisch)
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