Friday, June 5, 2020
A reprimand with proof of fitness has been ordered by the New Jersey Supreme Court for an attorney's plea to criminal mischief described in the report of the Disciplinary Review Board
During his plea allocution before the court, respondent admitted that, on February 4, 2018, he purposely smashed the taillights on a motor vehicle owned by another party, causing more than $3,000 in damage. Respondent provided no further explanation for his criminal conduct.
Here, like the attorney in Press, respondent admitted having committed a petty, senseless act of criminal mischief, in violation of RPC 8.4(b). In mitigation, he has no prior discipline, expressed remorse for his misconduct, and agreed to pay restitution to make the victim whole. His criminal act was not as serious as that of the attorney in Osei, who was censured for having committed criminal mischief. Respondent has provided no extensive explanation for his criminal conduct, but has disclosed confidential information that justifies the OAE’s request that he provide proof of fitness prior to resuming any practice.
On balance, thus, a reprimand is sufficient to protect the public and preserve confidence in the bar. As a condition, respondent is required to provide, within sixty days of the Court’s Order in this matter, proof of fitness to practice law.