Thursday, April 22, 2021

Gunshots Draw Five-Year Suspension

The Oregon Supreme Court imposed a five-year suspension of an attorney
In this lawyer discipline case, the Oregon State Bar charged respondent with violating Rule of Professional Conduct (RPC) 8.4(a)(2) (prohibiting commission of a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer) after he fired six bullets into the occupied offices of a lawyer with whom he was having a professional dispute, narrowly missing one of the occupants of the building.
In a client matter, the court found a failure to communicate.
The attorney is an Iraq veteran suffering from PTSD. He began drinking heavily after his father died in 2015.
He was befriended by an attorney but they had a falling out.
From the side of the road, he fired six rounds from a pistol at and into the building where Hogan’s law firm was located. Three shots hit the brick siding, one hit a metal exterior door, and two went through one of the law firm’s lighted office windows. The law firm manager was in the office at the time. The police report stated that an investigator had reconstructed the trajectory of the bullets that went through the windows and found that one of the bullets had passed just to the manager’s left, about seven inches from her head, and hit the back of a computer. Respondent immediately left the scene and drove to his home in Vancouver, Washington.
To recognize the gravity of respondent’s criminal conduct and ensure that respondent and other members of the Bar recognize the significance of the ethical standards to which they must adhere, we conclude that the lengthiest of permissible sanctions short of disbarment is warranted. Under BR 6.1(a)(3) the maximum length of a disciplinary suspension that we may order is five years, and that is the suspension we impose.
Oregonlive reported

Erik Graeff, 42, of Vancouver, sent at least three profanity-filled emails to the other attorney about three hours before the shooting, the affidavit said. The dispute apparently began because the other lawyer, Terrence Hogan, had left Graeff a voicemail saying he didn't approve of Graeff's work on a recent civil case in Washington the two teamed together on.

Graeff responded to Hogan's voicemail with an email at 3:40 p.m., belittling the message and attached a picture of a cat playing a violin, the affidavit said. Hogan replied about a half-hour later saying Graeff will have to explain his conduct to the state bars in Oregon and Washington. Graeff is licensed to practice in both states.
Graeff replied that the idea "sounds good," that he'd be waiting and he's tougher than Hogan and both state bars, the affidavit said.
"You know where I am tough guy," Hogan wrote at 4:35 p.m., according to the court papers.
"If the traffic wasn't such [expletive], I'd be there today," Graeff emailed three minutes later.
(Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink


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