Thursday, December 7, 2017

New York Raises Sanction In Reciprocal Discipline Matter For Domestic Violence Conviction

A New Jersey public censure for a criminal conviction got ratcheted up to reciprocal discipline of a six-month suspension by the New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department

In determining an appropriate sanction, the [New Jersey] DRB considered the “gravity of the attack” on the respondent’s victim as established by color photographs of the pictures of the bruising on the victim’s back, wrist, arm, and leg, which were submitted to the Judge prior to sentencing, without objection. Additionally, the DRB noted that the Judge at sentencing remarked that “he had ‘looked at the obviously horrendous situation as it relates to the beating, essentially, that . . . the victim took.’” In mitigation, the DRB gave great weight to the passage of five years between the incident, which occurred on January 26, 2011, and the motion for final discipline filed by the OAE on December 23, 2015, as well as the four years since the respondent’s plea of guilty on November 17, 2011, that he promptly self-reported his conviction to the New Jersey authorities, his lack of prior ethics or criminal history, his successful completion of anger management treatment, and that he had not engaged in any additional acts of domestic violence. Based upon the foregoing, by a vote of 4 to 3, the DRB recommended a public censure.

But he had failed to advise New York of the conviction

In considering this matter, we note that the offense of “simple assault” in New Jersey is essentially similar to the New York class A misdemeanor of assault in the third degree, under Penal Law § 120.00(2), for which this Court has previously imposed discipline. We also note that the respondent promptly notified the New Jersey authorities of his conviction, which was a factor considered in mitigation in the New Jersey proceeding. However, the respondent failed to notify this Court of his conviction in 2011, as required by Judiciary Law § 90(4)(c), which we find is an aggravating factor in determining the appropriate measure of discipline. Based upon the misconduct underlying the order of the Supreme Court of New Jersey dated March 29, 2017, we find that the imposition of reciprocal discipline is warranted.

Notwithstanding the respondent’s request to limit any public discipline imposed to a censure, we conclude that the nature of his criminal conduct warrants his suspension from the practice of law for a period of six months.

(Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink


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