Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Intoxicated Misconduct Draws Censure
The New York Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department has publicly censured an attorney on the following stipulation of facts
"On the night of October 20, 2016, respondent attended a celebration of his friend's newly launched law firm at an event space ... in Manhattan. At the time, respondent was an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for the Department of Corrections. He presided over parole revocation hearings at the Judicial Center at Rikers Island."
S. R., a Legal Aid attorney, also attended.
"There was an open bar at the celebration. [S.R.] and respondent availed themselves of the bar."
"Sometime after 11 p.m., respondent, who was intoxicated, and S.R. exited the building and began talking to one another outside. 'Respondent was standing against the building. At one point, respondent took a step towards [S.R.] and [S.R.] extended his arm towards respondent and touched respondent on the chest. Respondent then threw a single punch at [S.R.]'s head. [S.R.] fell to the ground and respondent fell on top of him. Respondent immediately stood up and left."
"On May 11, 2018, respondent pleaded guilty to harassment in the second degree (Penal Law[*2]§ 240.26), a violation. 'The matter was Adjourned in Contemplation of Dismissal and respondent received a one-year conditional discharge. As a condition of the disposition, an Order of Protection was issued on behalf of [S.R.]."
"Within days of the incident, respondent was suspended without pay by the Department of Corrections. He was later terminated after a disciplinary hearing was held."
"Respondent was candid about his misconduct with his employer and the Committee";
"Respondent has been practicing law for thirty-two (32) years with no discipline";
"Respondent's conduct directly led to the loss of his employment and harmed his legal career";
"Respondent acknowledged that[,] at or about the time of the incident, he was drinking more than he should have been[,] and that he has since taken stock of his life and made changes to address that situation. As a result of the criminal violation, respondent participated in anger management counseling through the LAMP program and participated in 70 hours of mandated community service, which he continued after his mandated participation came to an end"; and,
Respondent "apologize[s] to the Court and to the bar for his acknowledged misconduct".