Thursday, December 15, 2016

Informally Yours

 A recent informal admonition posted on the web page of the District of Columbia Bar

We opened an investigation based upon a review of the Memorandum Opinion and Order in United States v. Walter Lacy, Case No. 2015 CMD 9486, filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on March 10, 2016. The court granted Mr. Lacy a new trial based upon a violation of his right to effective assistance of his counsel. Specifically, the court found that you did not "meaningfully advise [Mr. Lacey] of his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent at any point before calling him as a witness." You were his trial counsel.

A review of the trial and motion for a new trial hearing transcripts shows that there were other concerns about the accuracy of your CJA voucher, your trial preparation and the adequacy of your communication with your client.

We find that the voucher you submitted did not accurately reflect the work that you did on this case. That is, we find that you stated in your voucher that you drafted an opening statement, a closing argument and direct examination questions when you did not do so. We do not need to determine whether this misrepresentation effected the total an1ount of claimed in your voucher because this misrepresentation was, at a minimum, recklessly dishonest.

Thus, your conduct violated Rule 8.4( c ). We do not find that we could prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that your conduct violated other Rules. In deciding to issue this letter of Informal Admonition rather than institute formal disciplinary charges against you, we have taken into consideration that you have no disciplinary history, took this matter seriously, cooperated with our investigation, and have accepted responsibility for your misconduct, including by accepting this Informal Admonition.

In D.C., an informal admonition publicly identifies the attorney. An attorney may reject an informal admonition and face disciplinary charges. Disciplinary Counsel does not post informal admonitions until the time to request a hearing expires. (Mike Frisch)

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