May 22, 2012
False Hostage Report Draws Reprimand
The Delaware Supreme Court has imposed a public reprimand of an attorney as a result of his dispute with another attorney who had offices in the same building. The other attorney (Mr. Gray) paid rent for the space but the exact nature of the professional relationship between the two was a matter of some dispute.
The incident began at around 7:00 pm on February 12, 2010. Mr. Gray asked the Respondent if he wanted to go for a beer, which offer Respondent declined. Three hours later, Respondent e-mailed Gray to advise him that he was barred from the building. This "abrupt termination of the relationship with Gray began the chain of events that led to the Hearing."
Gray came to the building with his daughter and others on February 15 to retrieve his files and computers. There was a confrontation. Respondent called the police and reported a "hostage situation." There was no such situation and Respondent said he said there was in order to "speed up the police response."
Seven to ten police officers arrived with lights flashing and sirens blaring. They were armed with rifles, semi-automatic weapons and a tactical shotgun. Respondent told the police that "he was just robbed/ burglarized/assaulted."
Gray was confronted by a police officer wearing full body armor, who pointed an assault rifle at him and told him to freeze. He was "pushed to the ground, handcuffed and placed in a squad car."
Both attorneys were taken to the police station. Eventually Gray was permitted to remove his items from the building.
The Board on Professional Responsibility found that Respondent had violated several ethical rules by falsely reporting that there was a hostage situation.(Mike Frisch)
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