Thursday, July 22, 2021

Application For Admission Denied

The Ohio Supreme Court declined to certify an applicant for bar admission

Two members of the Toledo Bar Association’s admissions committee interviewed Heckman in January 2020 and recommended that his application be denied. The bar association’s seven-member review committee then conducted a second interview of Heckman. Citing its concerns regarding Heckman’s emotional instability, alcohol usage, and lack of candor regarding his unsuccessful applications for admission to the Michigan and Indiana bars, the admissions committee recommended that Heckman’s application be disapproved. Heckman appealed that recommendation to the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness. See Gov.Bar R. I(14).

the Board also recommended against admission.

The issues

In 1990, Heckman was arrested in Arizona for driving while under the influence of alcohol. The following year, he was convicted in Florida for public consumption of alcohol. Several years later, he was charged in Michigan with driving while having a suspended driver’s license, although the reason for the license suspension is not clear from the record.

In 2014, Heckman was charged in Arizona with felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor disorderly conduct/domestic violence for striking his teenaged son during a social gathering at his sister’s home. The police report stated that Heckman had been drinking alcohol before the incident and had to be restrained by his relatives. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct/domestic violence, for which the court imposed a 60-day jail sentence (which, according to Heckman, was suspended) and 30 months of probation. He was released from probation after approximately 21 months. Heckman was also charged in Michigan with assault in 2016 for allegedly striking a phone out of the hand of his other teenaged son. No finding of guilt was entered regarding that charge because Heckman successfully completed probation and 26 weeks of classes concerning domestic violence.

 In addition to those criminal matters, Heckman’s ex-wife, who is a Michigan attorney, obtained four civil protection orders against Heckman following their 2007 divorce. One of those orders required Heckman to refrain from consuming alcohol when his children were in his care.

The court acknowledged favorable evidence but

The board acknowledged that Heckman has made strides in understanding some of the factors that contributed to his past behavior and has worked to maintain a loving relationship with his children. Heckman also submitted a favorable report from a counselor whom he had seen about 15 times in the previous five years, and a report following a March 2020 substance-abuse disorder assessment stating that he did not meet the criteria for a diagnosis under the DSM-5 (Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Ed.2013)) and that no treatment was recommended. However, Heckman did not persuade the board that he had meaningfully addressed the negative role of alcohol in his life, because he presented no evidence that he had entered into a monitoring program or had otherwise followed the recommendations made by the LJAP evaluator and he continued to deny that his alcohol use was a problem.

There were also candor issues related to the d isclosures on his law school application.

Ultimately

we adopt the board’s report and disapprove Heckman’s pending registration application. Heckman shall be permitted to reapply for admission to the Ohio bar no earlier than January 15, 2023, and before then shall be required to submit proof that he has obtained an OLAP evaluation and successfully completed any treatment program recommended as a result of that evaluation.

(Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2021/07/the-ohio-supreme-court-two-members-of-the-toledo-bar-associations-admissions-committee-interviewed-heckman-in-january-202.html

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