Friday, June 17, 2016

No Obvious Miscarriage Of Justice

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals disbarred an attorney who had not participated in the disciplinary process.

Having agreed with a Hearing Committee’s findings and conclusion that respondent, Eleanor Nace, violated District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1(a)-(b), 1.3(a)-(c), 1.4 (a), 1.15 (a) & (e), 1.16 (d), 8.1 (b), and 8.4 (d), the Board on Professional Responsibility (“the Board”) recommends that respondent be disbarred from the practice of law in the District of Columbia. The Board agreed with the Committee’s find that, among other forms of misconduct, respondent recklessly misappropriated her client’s entrusted funds, conduct that in itself generally mandated disbarment under In re Addams...

A noteworthy footnote

respondent did not participate in the proceedings either before the Hearing Committee or before the Board. See D.C. Bar Rule XI, § 8 (f) (“Failure to answer and default”). Recently, in In re Green, No. 15-BG-894 (D.C. Apr. 21, 2016), we held that where an attorney has failed to make an argument before the Board, he has forfeited his right to raise that argument before us and that any safety valve would be limited to an obvious miscarriage of justice. If that be so where, as in Green, an attorney did file an exception with us, a fortiori the same standard would appear to apply where no exception was filed with us and the respondent defaulted at both levels of earlier proceedings. No miscarriage of justice is evident here.

(Mike Frisch)

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