Saturday, August 21, 2021

No Interim Suspension for Neglect Conviction

A single justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has concluded that an interim suspension is not warranted notwithstanding the attorney's "serious crime" conviction

in the Superior Court for Bristol County, Rhode Island, on six felony counts of neglect of an adult with severe impairments, in violation of R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-5-12 (e).

The court discussed the factors implicated in the interim suspension calculus and concludes

I am mindful that, in determining whether to temporarily suspend a lawyer convicted of a serious crime, "the key consideration . . . is the public interest." Matter of DiMasi, 27 Mass. Att'y Discipline R. 193. Here, the respondent's multiple convictions of a serious crimes currently cloud his continued right to practice. Certainly, the public has an interest in shielding current and prospective clients from the discontinuity of legal representation that could result either from execution of a sentence of incarceration, or professional discipline. In the circumstances of this case, I conclude that the public interest is served if the respondent makes full disclosure to his current or prospective clients of the criminal convictions, the pending bar discipline investigation or proceedings, and the possible consequences to the client or prospective client of his incarceration and suspension or disbarment from practice, should that occur.

The Providence Journal reported on the conviction

A jury in December convicted Vose of six counts of criminal neglect of an adult with severe impairments, according to Attorney General Peter F. Neronha’s office.

Authorities accused Vose of repeatedly failing to care for his 69-year-old mother. In six instances, she was found wandering outside, unable to identify where she was or return home.

On Jan. 29, 2015, Pawtucket police were called to Walgreens, where Vose’s mother was discovered walking around in a bath robe. Two weeks later, police were alerted that she was standing in the snow outside her house trying to flag down a passing snow plow.

Months later, she was found wandering in traffic in a busy intersection.

Vose sued the City of Pawtucket in federal court, accusing the police of violating his rights by falsely arresting him on charges that he neglected his mother, Pauline Vose.

He alleged that it was his mother and not him that repeatedly refused nursing-home care due to her desire to maintain her independence, despite her dementia.

He also accused the department, former Police Chief Paul King and four officers of conspiring with Peter Graham of the Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs to have him arrested to end the department’s “problem” of responding to calls about his mother’s strange statements to passers-by as she walked her dogs through the neighborhood.

The state Supreme Court in 2014 denied Vose’s petition to practice law in Rhode Island, accepting a finding that he “lacks the qualities of trustworthiness, honesty, and judgment that are required.”

The Rhode Island admission order is linked here. (Mike Frisch)

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