Tuesday, April 3, 2012
The New Jersey Supreme Court has issued an opinion that censures an attorney for his failure to safeguard and negligent misappropriation of entrusted funds, recordkeeping violations and a conflict of interest.
The court agreed with the Disciplinary Review Board that the misappropriation was negligent. The attorney did not act with intentional ignorance or a nefarious intent. No client was harmed. Further, the conduct was discovered in a 2002 audit and the attorney has remedied his practices.
The court also agreed with the DRB's sanction recommendation: "We are in synchronicity with the DRB's judgment that a censure is the proper quatum of discipline here."
A dissent would impose a short suspension to preserve public confidence in New Jersey attorneys. The dissent would not regard the delay as a mitigating factor. (Mike Frisch)