Friday, February 8, 2019

Nebraska Takes Duty To Cooperate In Bar Investigation Seriously

The Nebraska Supreme Court has disbarred an attorney

This is an attorney discipline case against Jeremy C. Jorgenson stemming from violations occurring after Jorgenson was administratively suspended from the practice of law in Nebraska for failing to satisfy mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) reporting requirements...

Jorgenson admitted the charges, a judgment on the pleadings was entered, and a hearing on the question of appropriate sanctions was held before an appointed referee. The referee’s report following this hearing recommended Jorgenson be disbarred. Upon our de novo review and for the reasons set forth herein, we agree with the referee’s recommendation and conclude that disbarment is the proper sanction.

He admitted continuing to practice in several matters and explained

Jorgenson also testified to his remorse and embarrassment for the violations. Jorgenson testified that his life was in disarray both personally and professionally after being involved in a highly publicized murder trial and his decision to thereafter move to Illinois. Additionally, Jorgenson was undergoing marital discord when his wife moved to another state with their children, precipitating an ensuing custody battle. Jorgenson testified that he was severely depressed and drinking “a lot,” which attributed to the acts and omissions leading to the violations. 

The court noted

This matter represents the third disciplinary case in Nebraska to which Jorgenson has been a party.

Here

The facts alleged in the formal charges of this case and admitted to by Jorgenson display an ongoing neglect of Jorgenson’s duties to his clients and the judiciary. After admitting he received notice that he was administratively suspended, Jorgenson continued to practice law in violation of the suspension, failed to adequately notify clients that he could no longer represent them, failed to assist clients in obtaining new representation, failed to return client funds and provide an accounting thereof, held himself out as a member of a law firm in emails, and made filings on behalf of clients in court.

And

In addition, Jorgenson has repeatedly failed to cooperate with the Counsel for Discipline. Repeatedly ignoring requests for information from the Counsel for Discipline indicates a disrespect for our disciplinary jurisdiction and a lack of concern for the protection of the public, the profession, and the administration of justice. We consider an attorney’s failure to respond to inquiries and requests for information from the Counsel for Discipline as an important matter and as a threat to the credibility of attorney disciplinary proceedings.

His purported mitigation

Jorgenson did not present any evidence beyond his own testimony that he had depression and alcohol abuse issues and that he participated in group meetings. There was no medical evidence presented that Jorgenson suffered from depression, and there was no evidence presented that the depression was a direct and substantial contributing cause of his misconduct and that its treatment would substantially reduce the risk of further misconduct. Similarly, Jorgenson did not present any supporting evidence to establish that his use of alcohol was a direct and substantial contributing cause of his misconduct and that he is participating in treatment and ceased abusing alcohol so as not to make it an issue going forward.

State ex rel. Disciplinary Counsel v. Jorgenson can be accessed here.

The Omaha World-Herald reported on the aforementioned murder case.

The World-Herald also covered recent criminal matters involving the attorney.

A former attorney for quadruple-killer Anthony Garcia pleaded no contest Monday to four misdemeanors after a February ordeal in which he fractured his stepson’s arm.

Jeremy Jorgenson, 43, will be sentenced in December. He faces probation or up to a year in jail for each misdemeanor: two counts of child neglect and two counts of attempted tampering with a witness.

Jorgenson had been charged with felony child abuse and felony witness tampering. Those charges were reduced in return for his pleas to the four misdemeanors.

According to prosecutor Amy Schuchman, a deputy Douglas County attorney:

On Feb. 18, Jorgenson and wife Vicki Jorgenson were at their home near 30th Street and Poppleton Avenue in Omaha.

The couple were arguing when Vicki’s 7-year-old son came into the room and threw a toy at Jeremy, striking him.

Jeremy Jorgenson chased after the boy and picked him up by the shirt collar.

The 7-year-old boy told investigators at Project Harmony — a center that investigates child abuse — that the “defendant got angry, grabbed him by the back of the shirt, held him in the air ... making it hard to breathe and then dropped him on the stairs, which resulted in his wrist being broken,” Schuchman recounted.

Soon after, Vicki Jorgenson came running out of the residence, yelling: “He hurt him. He hurt him.”

Jeremy Jorgenson followed her out of the house saying, “We can’t go to the ER.”

The couple then got into a car to take the boy to urgent care.

“While in the motor vehicle ... the defendant had told them to get their story straight or he’d go to prison or kill himself,” Schuchman said.

All three told doctors that the boy had fallen while playing with a toy gun. After the doctor visit, Jorgenson and his wife took the boy to a Don & Millie’s restaurant to get a cheeseburger and ice cream, according to court documents.

Jorgenson shook his head through parts of the prosecutor’s account Monday. Outside court, he alleged that the 7-year-old “never said those things” to investigators.

Asked by Judge Patricia Lamberty how far he had gone in school, Jorgenson said he had obtained a juris doctorate.

Jorgenson was indefinitely suspended from practicing law after he skipped oral arguments on behalf of a defendant in a federal drug case. That discipline followed another disciplinary case in which Jorgenson came under scrutiny for his handling of civil cases and was assigned an attorney mentor.

Toward the end of the Garcia case, Jorgenson jumped on board to help Chicago attorneys Robert Motta Jr. and Robert Motta Sr. defend the man who eventually was convicted of killing four Omahans as revenge for his firing from Creighton University.

Jorgenson handled much of the questioning of DNA experts in the Garcia case.

(Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2019/02/the-nebraska-supreme-court-has-disbarred-an-attorney-this-is-an-attorney-discipline-case-against-jeremy-c-jorgenson-stemmin.html

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