Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Wrecking Ball

Justice Wooton dissents from the decision of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to impose a two-year suspension of an attorney without any portion stayed

Based on the facts and circumstances of this case, I respectfully dissent from the draconian penalty imposed on the respondent, Gregory H. Schillace – a penalty which is, in practical effect, the death penalty for this solo practitioner’s career.

A better approach

Where, as here, the evidence establishes that the respondent’s misconduct was the result of a mental condition for which he is receiving ongoing treatment; that he has learned from his mistakes; and that he has already proved, throughout the course of “a sustained period of successful rehabilitation[,]”18 that future misconduct is unlikely, I would impose a two-year suspension and require the respondent to serve three months of it, with the remainder stayed for a twenty-one month term of supervised probation by a West Virginia licensed attorney in good standing tasked with providing quarterly reports to the ODC. Under the facts and circumstances of this case, the respondent’s ethical violations, although serious, do not warrant putting a wrecking ball to his career and livelihood.

(Mike Frisch)

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