Monday, December 2, 2013

Buying Marijuana From A Client Is A Bad Idea

An attorney who had failed to timely advise his clients in a guardianship matter of criminal charges against him was suspended for three years by the Wisconsin Supreme Court:

...just one day prior to the guardianship hearing, Attorney Moore finally advised M.K. and B.K. of the criminal charges against him, although he told them that the charges were unfounded.  Given the lack of time prior to the guardianship hearing, M.K. and B.K. were unable to make a fully informed decision on whether they should continue to be represented by Attorney Moore or hire a different attorney to replace him. 

Later that same day, Attorney Moore advised M.K. and B.K. that he was too emotionally distraught to be able to represent them at the guardianship hearing the next day.  He then filed a motion to adjourn the hearing, claiming that the filing of the criminal complaint and other occurrences had caused him to suffer a temporary mental condition that was impairing his ability to represent his clients.  The circuit court granted the motion and rescheduled the hearing...

The criminal charges involved the attorney's attempt to purchase marijuana from a client, about which the court expressed concern

Attorney Moore's ethical violations are serious breaches of his obligations as an attorney.  Not only did he conspire with another to violate the criminal law of this state, he directed his own client, a young man already facing multiple criminal charges, to break the law again to serve Attorney Moore's own personal cravings.  Instead of helping his client to gain a respect for the laws of this state, Attorney Moore demonstrated to his young client his own disdain for the rule of law.  Moreover, when confronted by his client's parents, Attorney Moore lied to them, first by essentially claiming that his client was a liar and then by trying to spin a story of an alleged "good faith buy" to cover his own criminal acts.  In the other matter, Attorney Moore showed a troubling lack of diligence to address a clear problem that he had caused.  His failure to take relatively simple steps to cure the jurisdictional defect his premature filing had caused cost his clients their opportunity to seek a legal role in the upbringing of their granddaughter.  A lengthy suspension, with the accompanying requirement that Attorney Moore must prove his character and fitness to resume the practice of law, is an appropriate result of this professional misconduct.

The attorney had given $400 to his eighteen-year-old client for an ounce.

The client (who was charged with several felonies and out on bond) told his employer and his father of the deal. The father confronted the attorney and found new counsel for his son. (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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