Sunday, September 15, 2013
In a case involving a misappropriation of entrusted funds that lasted only a single day, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals nonetheless disbarred an attorney.
The court adopted the unanimous recommendation of its Board on Professional Responsibility, which had rejected the lesser sanction proposed by an ad hoc hearing committee.
The court applied the precedent that requires disbarment for intentional or reckless misappropriation absent extraordinary circumstances, noting that the attorney had failed to act when "beginning more than a year before the misappropriation, [there were] practically obvious signals that his trust account had problems."
The court has found "extraordinary circumstances" in cases involving recovering addicts whose misappropriation was causally related to the condition and a case involving what I characterized (somewhat scornfully) as an altruistic theft. (Mike Frisch)