Thursday, April 26, 2012

Crimes Draw Suspension

An attorney who engaged in misconduct caused by alcoholism and addiction to prescription drugs has been suspended for six months with conditions by the South Carolina Supreme Court.

The attorney's violations included matters involving his own criminal conduct:

2.  Self-Report Matter (04-379)

On March 23, 2004, Respondent was arrested for Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature ("CDVHAN") based on an altercation between Respondent and his girlfriend.  At the time of the incident, Respondent and his girlfriend began living together on and off for several months after separating from their respective spouses.  Respondent testified the charge arose out of his girlfriend's claim that Respondent "touched her [and] threw her down" during an argument.  Although Respondent admitted that he argued with his girlfriend, he denied ever "touching" her.  Respondent, however, took "full responsibility" for the situation.  Respondent attributed his actions to his addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs. 

On November 5, 2004, Respondent was accepted into the Pre-Trial Intervention ("PTI") program.  He successfully completed this program on August 9, 2005.

In another criminal matter, Respondent pled guilty on April 9, 2010 to possession of unlawful prescription drugs, first offense. The offense, which occurred between May 8, 2008 and August 15, 2008, stemmed from Respondent knowingly obtaining a quantity of Oxycodone (a schedule II controlled substance) from two separate practitioners.  Respondent failed to inform the practitioners that he had received prescriptions for drugs of like therapeutic use in a concurrent time period from another practitioner.

As a result of his conviction, Respondent was sentenced to a term of six months' imprisonment, which was suspended without the imposition of probation.  Respondent, however, was assessed costs and ordered to complete substance abuse counseling and consent to random drug testing.

3.  Self-Report Matter (05-1490)

On November 9, 2005, Respondent was charged with one count of trespassing, two counts of simple assault, and one count of pointing and presenting a firearm.

The charges arose out of Respondent's attempted intervention into the relationship between his fifteen-year-old son and his son's girlfriend.  According to Respondent, his son ran away from home to stay at his girlfriend's home.  When Respondent went to the girlfriend's home in search of his son, an argument ensued that resulted in the girlfriend's parents initiating a charge of trespassing against Respondent.  A few days later, while still looking for his son, Respondent got into an argument with the girlfriend's parents, which resulted in the simple assault charges.  Following this incident, the girlfriend alleged that Respondent pointed a gun at her when he was inquiring about his son's whereabouts. 

On June 2, 2008, Respondent pled guilty to a charge of trespass and disorderly conduct.  The remaining charges were nolle prossed.

In another matter, the attorney violated his duty of confidentiality by giving discovery materials to his client's cellmate without permission.

A hearing panel had proposed an admonition with conditions. (Mike Frisch)

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