Thursday, August 16, 2012
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has granted the reinstatement petition of an attorney disbarred on consent in 2003 as a result of a Virginia criminal conviction.
The offense (which the attorney continues to deny) involved an incident in which a jury found he had cut the brake line of his girlfriend's car. As a result, her brakes failed and her car crashed. She was not injured.
The court majority noted that the reinstatement raised an issue of first impression. The petitioner denied his guilt at trial and on appeal. He persisted in that denial in the reinstatement. The court found that the continuing denial did not preclude reinstatement. Rather, the petitioner recognized the seriousness of the misconduct by seeking and responding to therapy.
The court agreed with Bar Counsel that reinstatement was appropriate notwithstanding his denial of culpability in the criminal case and an "regrettable" incident at Home Depot in 2009 that resulted in an arrest.
Judge Steadman dissented and agees with the Board on Professional Responsibility that reinstatement is premature. (Mike Frisch)