Friday, April 19, 2013
The trend toward lenient sanctions for ethical violations in New Jersey is on display in a recent censure imposed by the New Jersey Supreme Court, which approved the proposed disposition of the Disciplinary Review Board.
The DRB report has this summary of governing precedent:
Precedent requires, at a minimum, a reprimand for respondent's most serious transgressions, misrepresentations to ethics authorities and to [the client's Pennsylvania attorney] Russell. His misconduct is aggravated, however, because he squandered several opportunities to "come clean" and to tell the truth about the dismissal of the complaint [filed for a slip-and-fall plaintiff]. Yet, with each new letter, he "doubled down" on his lies until, all told, six letters failed to include crucial information, that is, that the matter had been dismissed. We, therefore, determine that a censure is the suitable sanction in this case.
The attorney made misrepresentations in the bar investigation as well.
Does anyone find it problematic that an attorney can repeatedly lie and not suffer any suspension as a consequence? (Mike Frisch)