Tuesday, April 30, 2013

With All Deliberate Sloth

The sharp-eyed reader may be aware that I have had occasion in the past to criticize the District of Columbia bar disciplinary system for its interminable delay in bringing charges of misconduct to resolution.

As one far wiser than I (former Bar Counsel Len Becker) observed, no participant in the system is free from blame.

But one of the worst cases of inexplicable delay is now wending its way through the system. The lion's share of blame can only be attributed to a hearing committee and the Board on Professional Responsibility's office for its abject failure to motivate the committee to action.

The case is In re Wayne Rohde, Bar Docket No. 2005- D347. 

The attorney was convicted of felony leaving the scene of an accident in Virginia. The incident that took place on August 10, 2005.

On December 5, 2005, the D.C. Court of Appeals entered an order declining to suspend the attorney for the conviction, noting his claim that the incident was the result of an alcoholic blackout. The court referred the matter for investigation and prosecution.

Bar Counsel filed charges of moral turpitude and other misconduct. Three days hearings were held ending on January 15, 2008. Post-hearing briefing was completed on August 28, 2008.

Then....nothing.

The matter has now been pending before a hearing committee for over five years since the hearing was completed. Nothwithstanding a felony conviction, the attorney has not been subject to either sanction or vindication of the charges.

And if the hearing committee ever actually deigns to do its job, the report still has to be reviewed by the Board and the Court.

Disgraceful.

Wonder if anyone responsible for the operation of the D.C. bar disciplinary system cares. (Mike Frisch)

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