Thursday, July 11, 2013

Don't Lie To A Hearing Committee (Even If They Don't Think You Did!)

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals imposed a suspension of two years and fitness of an attorney who had neglected two matters.

The matters involved court-appointed guardianships and care of an elderly, infirm client.

The neglect of one of the matters caused significant financial harm to the client.

The hearing committee had concluded that the attorney did not intentionally lie in her testimony but rather had misremembered facts remote in time.

She claimed to have visited a client three times a year on the way to her parent's Massanutten, Virginia vacation home. In fact, she had not.

The Board on Professional Responsibility disagreed with the hearing committee and recommended the substantial suspension imposed here based on a finding of false testimony.

The court agreed with the board, noting that the attorney false claim to have visited the client in the would have required a 130 mile trip from the vacation home. A drive one would not misremember.

The court concluded that there was sufficient evidence to sustain the board's finding that her elaborate, inaccurate testimony was knowingly false.

The court has now firmly established that lying in a disciplinary proceeding is serious misconduct. (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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