Friday, January 11, 2013

Cautionary Tale, Teaching Tool

For professors about to begin a semester teaching professional responsibility, I have a case to recommend to give students a sense of how bar disciplinary sanctions are imposed.

The case was decided today by the Kansas Supreme Court.

The attorney had less than five years in practice. After ingesting alcohol and cocaine, she drove her car on the wrong side of the highway. There was a collision that caused damage to both vehicles. The other driver suffered minor injuries.

A criminal conviction and some jail time resulted.

The court deals with a number of issues concerning mitigating and aggravating factors.

The attorney had described her drug use as "casual," which caused the hearing panel and (on different grounds) the court to conclude that she failed to appreciate the seriousness of her misconduct. There is a discussion of whether there was sufficent apology to the injured party and remorse for the misconduct.

The court rejected delay as a mitigating factor. Further, the court rejected the attorney's request for probation in lieu of suspension because she had failed to submit a "workable, substantial, and detailed plan of probation."

The Disciplinary Administrator sought a two-year suspension. The hearing panel recommended a three-month suspension.

The court imposed two years, but stayed all but three months on probation with compliance with the bar's lawyer assistance program and other probationary conditions. (Mike Frisch)

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Thanks much for the heads-up on that one. Sounds like it would indeed provide lots of good fodder for discussion, as well as a good overview of the disciplinary process.

Posted by: Chris Osborn | Jan 12, 2013 9:58:03 AM

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