March 1, 2013
The Iowa Supreme Court has ordered a 60-day suspension of an attorney whose misconduct took place "because [he] had an untreated substance abuse problem."
The attorney was admitted in 1984. His practice focus was federal criminal defense work. There were a substantial number of favorable testimonials regarding his professional work and character.
However, his alcohol consumption "was regular and became problematic, by his own admission." He used marijuana "casually" and was convicted in 2003 of a federal misdemeanor when he sought to bring some through airport security. He was privately admonished as a result.
He divorced and testified that the resulting depression along with alcohol "led him to try crack cocaine." He was arrested in 2011 after being targeted by a DEA sting operation. He pled to a federal felony that would have been an aggravated misdemeanor under Iowa law, spent 15 days in jail and reported himself to Iowa disciplinary authorities.
The court considered his remorse and treatment in imposing a sanction. He must provide the court with evaluations indicating fitness to practice law in order to secure reinstatement. (Mike Frisch)
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