Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Gifts

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has publicly reprimanded an attorney for misconduct in a criminal matter

The referee agreed that by issuing checks from her trust account to potential State witnesses in L.W.'s criminal case, Attorney Bowe engaged in conduct that created a significant risk that her representation of L.W. would be materially  limited by her personal interest. The referee commented that at a July 14, 2020 hearing, Attorney Bowe explained the reason for writing the checks. Attorney Bowe said L.W. had settled a large personal injury case and had a large amount of money at his disposal. She said at the time the criminal charges were filed, there were various actions seeking to freeze or seize those funds. She said at the time L.W. retained her in the criminal case none of those actions had been
successful, but L.W. feared that he would soon not have access to that money and while he still had it he wanted to make gifts to a number of people, using her to disburse the funds. The referee commented, "one need not dwell on the possible hypothetical problems that this could have created; the details of this case are living proof that this was a bad idea." The referee said to Attorney Bowe's credit, she realized she could not defend against the district attorney's motion to remove her from the case and she immediately stepped aside. The referee noted that Attorney Bowe's counsel commented that Attorney Bowe, "perceived as a necessity the appeasing of a difficult client, as [L.W.] most certainly was."

The court noted the attorney's "poor decisions" in imposing a reprimand. (Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2020/11/the-wisconsin-supreme-court-has-publicly-reprimanded-an-attorney-for-misconduct-in-a-criminal-matter-the-referee-agreed-that-1.html

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