Wednesday, February 20, 2013
An attorney who failed to advise a criminal client, the prosecutor and tribunal of his suspension from practice has been publicly reprimanded by the Wisconsin Supreme Court:
Attorney S. did not advise J.C., the presiding court, or the assistant district attorney that his license to practice law had been suspended. On October 17, 2007, J.C. telephoned Attorney S. to ask about the status of his case. Attorney S.'s telephone was disconnected. J.C. then sent Attorney S. an e-mail. Attorney S. responded and provided a new telephone number but he did not inform J.C. that his law license had been suspended.
J.C. telephoned Attorney S. multiple times and sent several e-mails seeking information about the status of his case. Attorney S. failed to provide meaningful responses to J.C.'s inquiries, and continued in his failure to inform J.C. that his law license had been suspended, that he could no longer represent J.C., and that J.C. should hire a new attorney.
J.C. learned through a source other than Attorney S. that Attorney S.'s law license had been suspended. On January 24, 2008, J.C. sent Attorney Smead an e-mail and specifically asked him to refund the $2,000 advanced fee. Attorney S. did not respond to the request and did not provide any refund.
J.C. subsequently retained another attorney to represent him in his criminal matter. In February of 2008, J.C. submitted a claim for reimbursement to the Wisconsin Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection ("the Fund"). The Fund approved payment of $2,000 to J.C. for reimbursement of funds lost as a result of Attorney S.'s conduct.
The court noted that the misconduct took place at the time of the suspension and that his approach to practice and attitude has improved. (Mike Frisch)