Saturday, February 3, 2018
The New York Appellate Division for the Fourth Judicial Department has suspended an attorney convicted of a misdemeanor false bomb threat to a federal building
On August 18, 2017, she was convicted upon her plea of guilty in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree (see Penal Law § 240.50 ; see also 18 USC § 13), a federal misdemeanor. In pleading guilty, respondent admitted that, on February 20, 2015, she placed a telephone call to the James M. Hanley Federal Building in Syracuse, during which she falsely reported the presence of a bomb in the building. Immediately after accepting respondent’s guilty plea, the court sentenced respondent to probation for a period of one year, imposed a fine in the amount of $20,000, and required her to perform 250 hours of community service and to participate in mental health treatment...
In determining an appropriate sanction, we have considered the serious nature of the misconduct underlying the conviction and the matters in mitigation submitted by respondent, including her statement that the misconduct was aberrational and occurred while she was experiencing extreme stress owing to work and family difficulties, which were exacerbated when a member of her immediate family was diagnosed with a serious medical condition. We have also considered that respondent has an otherwise
unblemished disciplinary history and that, since September 2016, she has participated in mental health treatment to address the issues that contributed to the misconduct. Finally, we have considered respondent’s expression to this Court of extreme remorse, which we find to be sincere. Accordingly, after consideration of all of the factors in this matter, we conclude that respondent should be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one year, effective October 25, 2017, or until the termination of her federal probation, whichever period is shorter.
Syracuse.com reported on the criminal case.
In an unrelated matter, the court suspended another convicted attorney
On July 28, 2016, she was convicted upon her plea of guilty in Steuben County Court of attempted falsifying business records in the first degree (Penal Law §§ 110.00, 175.10). During the plea colloquy, respondent admitted that, in December 2015, she submitted to an assigned counsel program a voucher wherein she overstated the time she had spent meeting with certain clients and the expenses she had incurred in relation to three client matters. On October 12, 2016, the court sentenced respondent to a one-year conditional discharge and 200 hours of community service...
In August 2017, respondent notified the Grievance Committee of the conviction, at which time she asserted various matters in mitigation, including that her conduct underlying the conviction occurred while she was caring for seriously ill relatives and that the false voucher was primarily attributable to inadvertence and inexperience with assigned counsel billing procedures. Respondent further asserted that she had not, in fact, committed the crime of attempted falsifying business records in the first degree, that she had not acted with fraudulent intent, and that her guilty plea was a “lie” to avoid a trial before a judge who “had his mind made up” prior to trial. Respondent additionally stated that, after criminal charges were lodged against her, she suffered from various physical and mental health problems, which contributed to her failure to report the conviction to this Court within 30 days thereof
The court rejected attacks on the conviction
we conclude that respondent should be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one year, effective October 25, 2017, and until further order of this Court. We further direct that, in the event that respondent applies to this Court for reinstatement following the period of suspension, the application must comply with the Appellate Division rule governing reinstatement of suspended attorneys (22 NYCRR 1240.16), and additionally satisfy the conditions set forth in the order entered herewith, including the submission of a medical report establishing that respondent possesses the mental and physical fitness to practice law, proof that she has completed 16 credit hours of continuing legal education concerning client billing and legal ethics, and proof that she has engaged a mentor attorney who will monitor her law practice for a period of two years to ensure that she is practicing law in a competent and professional manner.