Friday, July 1, 2022
This month's disciplinary summaries of The Florida Bar (with links to the docket entries) includes these matters
William J. Cantrell, 401 E. Jackson St., Suite 2340, Tampa, public reprimand by publication effective immediately following a June 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2013) Cantrell filed two lawsuits against a third party after he became aware that his girlfriend was involved in an affair with said third party. One lawsuit was filed on his own behalf and the other was filed on behalf of Cantrell’s girlfriend. By representing himself and his girlfriend in issues with substantially the same facts and issues, Cantrell engaged in a potential conflict of interest. Cantrell engaged in unprofessional behavior towards the third party and his family. (Case No: SC22-693)
Among the cited prior discipline matters cited in support of the conditional guilty plea in the above matter
The Florida Bar v. Miller, The Florida Bar File No. 2021-50,250 (17C) (providing for Grievance Committee Recommendation of Diversion for public defender who yelled out "F*ck you" to a prosecutor during a recorded Zoom hearing).
Beresford A. Landers, Jr., 3939 NW 19th St., Lauderdale Lakes, suspended for 90 days effective 30 days following a June 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Landers engaged in a conflict of interest and was disqualified as counsel by the trial court for assisting the wife in filing a pro se petition for dissolution of marriage and then later appearing as counsel for the husband in the dissolution of marriage and injunction cases filed. During the final hearing, Landers used information against the wife that he had gained previously while assisting her. Landers admitted to printing the necessary dissolution of marriage forms for the wife, filling out the forms for her after she failed to write dark enough on the forms and assisting her in obtaining the notarization of certain documents. Landers also conceded that he drove her to the courthouse to file the documents and then filed the documents for her. Landers was not paid for his assistance to the wife and ultimately refunded his legal fee to the husband. (Case No: SC22-689)
Andrew John Manie, P.O. Box 720236, Orlando, suspended for six months and four years of probation effective 30 days following a June 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2015) In September 2019, Manie responded to an advertisement posted on an escort website and committed a sexual act with a woman in exchange for money. At that time, Manie, who was 30 years old at the time, believed he was meeting with an escort that was over the age of 18. The individual was in fact 17 years and 9 months of age. Pursuant to a grant of immunity, Manie was not criminally prosecuted for the offense. (Case No: SC22-706)
The conditional guilty plea notes
When, during the interview of the respondent by the agents, the respondent was told of the victim’s age, he was so upset she was underaged, he broke down in tears. The Assistant Statewide Prosecutor stated she believed the respondent was not aware of the victim’s age.
The respondent is an Iraqi War Veteran who served in the United States Marine Corps from 2007 until 2011 when he was medically retired due to debilitating medical conditions which arose during his service and are ongoing to the present time. As a result of his military service, respondent endured physical and mental trauma and suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). In addition, respondent experienced significant and repeated trauma during his childhood, which in combination with his PTSD and ongoing health issues resulted in significant mental health issues which was a substantial contributing factor in the underlying misconduct.
If this sanction sets the floor for such misconduct, what sanction would be appropriate if the Florida attorney knew that his sex partner was underage, failed to cooperate truthfully in the investigation and/or has no comparable mitigation? (Mike Frisch)