Wednesday, April 3, 2013
What happens when an attorney resigns from a federal district court bar while there are pending disciplinary charges?
An attorney who resigned from a district court in the face of witness intimidation, missed deadlines, repeated violations of local court rules and altering court document charges was suspended for one year by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
The court considered mitigating evidence in setting an appropriate reciprocal sanction
In his Response, Respondent admitted to substantially all the acts that gave rise to the disciplinary proceedings. He offered explanations, that he acted impulsively - a result of his ADHD. It does appear that he is taking steps to manage his symptoms. Hiring an "organized" assistant and implementing a system to timely manage cases is a laudable effort, but it does not address the overriding issue of Respondent's honesty.
Although Respondent testified he has experienced the symptoms of ADHD all of his life, he only sought help following his suspension in federal court. Furthermore, testimony revealed the Respondent does not have a typical doctor/patient relationship with the psychiatrist currently treating his condition. The psychiatrist has never billed Respondent for his services, does not maintain records of his treatment, and is not willing to prescribe additional medications to manage Respondent's condition. As illustrated by hearing testimony, Respondent continued to engage in questionable actions after being prescribed medication intended to reduce his impulsive behavior.
While it is possible that Respondent may suffer from an illness which makes it more difficult for him to manage himself, his affairs or the affairs of others, it does not remove from him the responsibility of acting with honesty and integrity.
Dissenting justices would suspend the attorney for two years and a day. (Mike Frisch)