Tuesday, November 8, 2022

"A One-Time Incident Done Without Malice"

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has granted reinstatement to an attorney convicted felony manslaughter

 On August 27, 2017, Arnett was at a party where she consumed several glasses of wine. While driving home that night, Arnett struck Christopher Brown (Brown)--a pedestrian in the roadway--with her vehicle. Emergency Medical Technicians transported Brown to the hospital, where he died several hours later. Arnett was taken to the hospital for a blood alcohol test, which showed her blood alcohol content was 0.142.

On December 1, 2017, Arnett was charged with the felony crime of Manslaughter in the First Degree, to which she pled guilty. On July 23, 2018, the district court sentenced Arnett to four years in custody and eight years suspended.

She had been suspended since 2018.

Moral character

Arnett has never faced disciplinary action by the OBA. She practiced for approximately fifteen years after being admitted into the OBA and maintained good standing with the OBA until her suspension in 2018. Prior to the incident involving Brown, Arnett volunteered by fostering dogs, participating in the Ask A Lawyer program that is part of the OBA's Law Day celebrations, and coaching a mock trial team...

The only question as to Arnett's moral character arises from her continued use of alcohol. Arnett admitted that she has on a couple of occasions consumed alcohol since her release from prison, which is a violation of the terms of her probation. Arnett testified that she understands that she cannot drink alcohol and testified that she would not do so again. Arnett continues to attend AA meetings and is involved in LHL. Even with this concern, the OBA does not contest Arnett's reinstatement.

We find by clear and convincing evidence that despite Arnett's alcohol use since her release from incarceration, Arnett possesses the moral fitness necessary for reinstatement.

She met the remaining requirements

Here, Arnett's criminal actions were also extremely serious, and we do not take that lightly. However, the record indicates it was a one-time incident done without malice that did not involve clients. Arnett also has no disciplinary history. As in Morgan, we find Arnett has satisfied our inquiry into the factors we consider for reinstatement. Id

(Mike Frisch)


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