Thursday, November 3, 2022
The New York Appellate Division for the Third Judicial Department had a harsher view of an attorney's domestic violence than its sister state of New Jersey.
The court ordered a three-year suspension
we take note of the serious nature of respondent's aggravated domestic assault in New Jersey which, as described by
the DRB, occurred after respondent and the victim – his fiancée at the time – engaged in a heated argument in a parking lot that resulted in respondent "grabb[ing] the victim's head and "smash[ing] it against the [vehicle] door frame twice," causing a gash to the victim's head. As the victim screamed that she was bleeding, respondent fled and a police officer dispatched to the scene called for an ambulance to take the victim to the hospital for treatment. Although respondent ultimately pleaded guilty to aggravated assault as noted above, he thereafter failed to provide notice of his conviction to the New Jersey disciplinary authorities, one of the factors in aggravation noted by the DRB. The DRB also viewed respondent's claims of remorse as unconvincing, noting respondent's attempts to downplay his criminal conviction and his submission of statements from the victim blaming herself for her injuries. Ultimately, a majority
of the DRB concluded that – after noting that a three-month suspension is "the ordinary measure of discipline" for attorneys convicted of acts of domestic violence in that state – the presence of these significant aggravating factors outweighed any mitigating circumstances in respondent's favor and warranted an enhanced six-month suspension, a recommendation that was subsequently accepted by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
The court noted that the attorney had failed to report the conviction and offered no mitigation. (Mike Frisch)