Thursday, November 9, 2017

Stayed Consent Suspension For Taking Lewd Photos On Work Phone

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals approved a consent disposition

In this disciplinary matter, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility Ad Hoc Hearing Committee (the Committee) recommends approval of the petition for negotiated attorney discipline. The violation stems from respondent Darrell N. Fuller’s professional misconduct wherein he used his work-issued phone to take lewd photographs and videos of clothed, unaware, and nonconsenting individuals and then stored those images on his work computer.

Respondent acknowledged that he engaged in deceitful conduct and violated Rule 8.4 (c) of the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct. In mitigation, the Committee considered the fact that respondent (1) cooperated with Bar Counsel; (2) had been diagnosed with Voyeuristic Disorder (in remission); (3) voluntarily consented to an independent medical examination that resulted in a determination that he posed a low risk of recidivism for the conduct described; (4) promptly reported his guilty plea and acknowledged his misconduct from the outset of Disciplinary Counsel’s investigation; (5) already served a suspension lasting over one year; (6) immediately sought treatment upon his arrest;1 (7) demonstrated remorse for his actions; and (8) had no prior history of discipline in any jurisdiction. As a result, Disciplinary Counsel and respondent negotiated the imposition of discipline in the form of a two-year suspension, stayed, and two years of unsupervised probation during which respondent must (1) submit monthly reports to Disciplinary Counsel self-certifying his compliance with the treatment directions of his psychiatrist and other providers; (2) submit monthly reports to Disciplinary Counsel self-certifying that he attended at least one Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting in that month period; (3) immediately seek counseling from a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist should his treatment regimen appear insufficient; (4) waive privilege, to the extent necessary, for Disciplinary Counsel to verify his compliance with the terms of his probation; and (5) not engage in any misconduct in this or any jurisdiction.

Senior Judge Nebeker dissented

I would reject the request for approval of the petition for negotiated attorney discipline. I believe the conditions of respondent’s probation should require his psychiatrist to submit monthly reports to Disciplinary Counsel verifying his compliance with treatment directions and expressing an opinion on his risk of recidivism.

The attorney had pleaded guilty to a criminal offense in Texas but the statute section he pled to was later held to be unconstitutional. (Mike Frisch)

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