Thursday, February 8, 2018

Child Pornography Conviction Draws Disbarment

A convicted attorney was deemed automatically disbarred by the New York Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department

On January 20, 2017, respondent pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to possession of child pornography in violation of 18 USC §§ 2252A(a)(5)(B),(b)(2), and 2, a felony. Respondent's conviction was predicated on his use of a file sharing program whereby, over a period of approximately five years, he downloaded images of child pornography to his personal computer. On June 27, 2017, respondent was sentenced to a term of probation of five years and ordered to pay $9,000 in restitution, forfeit $256,000, perform 1,800 hours of community service, participate in a computer internet monitoring program and register as a sex offender...

 Respondent's plea admissions that he "knowingly possessed, and accessed on [his] computer, some images [he knew] constituted child pornography, the possession of which violates federal law, and [] underst[oo]d that these images were transported in interstate commerce by computer," read in conjunction with the information to which he pleaded guilty, corresponds to the New York felony of possessing a sexual performance by a child (Penal Law § 263.16). Inasmuch as respondent's conviction under 18 USC § 2252A(a)(5)(B) is essentially similar to a conviction under Penal Law § 263.16, it is a proper predicate for automatic disbarment under Judiciary Law § 90(4)(b) and (e) and respondent ceased to be an attorney and counselor-at-law upon his conviction of that felony (see Matter of Serenbetz, 144 AD3d 21, 23 [1st Dept 2016]; Matter of Groezinger, 77 AD3d 117, 119 [2d Dept 2010]; Matter of Lipton, 51 AD3d 207, 209 [1st Dept 2008]).

(Mike Frisch)

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