Category Archives: Lawyer drug misconduct

Louisiana discipline board recommends denial of readmission of lawyer disbarred in Louisiana and later admitted in Georgia using false name and failing to disclose La. admission, disbarment, and felony conviction

Hello everyone and welcome to this Ethics Alert blog which will discuss the recent Louisiana Disciplinary Board recommendation that a lawyer who was previously disbarred in Louisiana but was admitted to practice in Georgia after using a false name and failing to disclose his prior admission and disbarment and felony conviction be denied reinstatement for the second time.  The case is In Re: Jack P.F. Gremillion, Jr., Case No.: 11-DB-039  (10/29/12) and the Recommendation of the Louisiana Disciplinary Board is here:  http://www.ladb.org/new/DR/?DocID=7815&Title=GREMILLION,%20JACK%20P.F.,%20JR.

According to the Louisiana Board’s Recommendation, the lawyer was disbarred in Louisiana in October 1975 for misconduct related forgery and false statements to a court in Mississippi.  In January 1975, prior to his disbarment, the lawyer pled guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice in federal court.  The conviction was based upon the lawyer’s counseling an individual to not appear as a witness in a federal criminal matter.  The lawyer cooperated with the federal authorities and testified against the defendant. In exchange for his testimony, the lawyer was placed in the Federal Witness Relocation Program, was given the new name of John Paul Farrar, and was relocated to Savannah, Georgia.

In March 1977, after his relocation, the lawyer applied for admission to the Georgia Bar using the new name; however, he failed to disclose the fact that he had previously been admitted in Louisiana, the disbarment, or his felony conviction.  Georgia admitted him under the new name but later learned about his prior record.  In June 1978, the lawyer pled guilty to mail fraud in federal court in Georgia based upon his misrepresentations to an insurance company and creation of forged medical records related to a minor car accident.  After the accident, he apparently misrepresented his financial injury to the insurance company by creating forged medical records to obtain additional compensation.  The lawyer was sentenced to three (3) years of incarceration with 2 1/2 years suspended.

The Georgia disciplinary authorities became aware of the lawyer’s true name and identity and began discipline proceedings based upon his misrepresentations on his bar application and conviction for mail fraud. The lawyer later voluntarily resigned from the Georgia Bar.

The lawyer had previously applied for readmission in Louisiana in 2002 and was denied in 2006.  The Board’s Recommendation acknowledged that, during the time period of the lawyer’s misconduct, he was addicted to amphetamines and alcohol and the lawyer entered treatment in 1985; however, after reviewing the case law and the 11 criteria required for reinstatement in Louisiana, the Board found that the lawyer had not presented “good and sufficient reasons why he should be readmitted to the practice of law.  Given the egregious nature and magnitude of the misconduct that Petitioner engaged in after his disbarment, the Board would be remiss in its obligation to uphold the integrity of the profession if it did not recommend that the petition for readmission be denied.”   The recommendation will now be reviewed by the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Bottom line:  This is somewhat bizarre case with some strange facts.  I guess the takeaway is that if a lawyer is disbarred and testify against a criminal defendant and is given a new name under the witness protection program, that lawyer shouldn’t use the new name and lie on the Bar application when applying for admission in another state…

Be careful out there!

Disclaimer: this e-mail does not contain any legal advice and the comments herein should not be relied upon by anyone who reads it.Joseph A. Corsmeier, Esquire

Law Office of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A.

2454 McMullen Booth Road, Suite 431

Clearwater, Florida 33759

Office (727) 799-1688

Fax     (727) 799-1670

jcorsmeier@jac-law.com

www.jac-law.com

 

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Filed under Attorney discipline, Attorney Ethics, deceit, joe corsmeier, Lawyer criminal conduct, Lawyer disbarment, Lawyer discipline, Lawyer drug misconduct, Lawyer ethics, Lawyer Ethics and Professionalism, Lawyer false statements, Lawyer misrepresentation, Lawyer readmission denial

Pennsylvania Assistant District Attorney receives public censure after arrest and diversion for possession of cocaine and marijuana

Hello everyone and welcome to this Ethics Alert which will discuss the recent Pennsylvania disciplinary opinion imposing a public censure on a former state criminal prosecutor who was arrested of possession of cocaine and marijuana and later received a diversion and dismissal of the criminal charges.  The case is Pennsylvania Disciplinary Counsel vs. Yanoff, No. 71 DB 2012 (October 4, 2012).

According to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court opinion, on November 29, 2008, the lawyer was in a vehicle in a driveway near a city street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A police officer observed him empty a white powdery substance onto a magazine, and use a straw to snort the substance.  The lawyer was arrested and found to be carrying a blue “ziplock” packet containing 1.079 grams of cocaine and a small plastic bag containing .79 grams of marijuana.

At the time he was arrested, the lawyer had recently been hired as an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia.  Following his arrest, the District Attorney’s office suspended the lawyer without pay.  On November 30, 2008, the lawyer was arraigned and formally charged with possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) and possession of a small amount of marijuana, in violation of Pennsylvania criminal statutes and he resigned his position as an Assistant District Attorney on December 8, 2008.

On December 21, 2009, the lawyer entered a nolo contendere plea to possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) and possession marijuana and was placed on supervised probation for a maximum term of 12 months, subject to drug testing and screening.  The lawyer successfully completed the probation on December 29, 2010 and the criminal charges were dismissed without an adjudication of guilt.

The Pennsylvania Disciplinary Counsel charged the lawyer with violating Pennsylvania Bar Rules.  The lawyer subsequently entered into a consent agreement wherein he admitted violating Pennsylvania Rule of Professional Conduct: RPC 8.4(b), which states that “it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects” and agreed to a discipline of public censure.   According to the consent agreement (which was adopted in the opinion), the following mitigation was present:  remorse by pleading nolo contendere to the criminal charges; payment of the full amount of costs that was imposed upon him by the Court as a result of his plea; admission to engaging in misconduct and violating the charged Rule of Professional Conduct;  “remorseful for his misconduct and understands he should be disciplined, as is evidenced by his cooperation with Petitioner and his consent to receiving a public censure”; no prior criminal history; and no prior disciplinary history.

Bottom line:  Notwithstanding the fact that he was a state criminal prosecutor, this Pennsylvania lawyer’s criminal case was dismissed and he received a minimal discipline of a public censure (reprimand) by showing remorse and other mitigating factors.  I don’t know if I need to say this, but lawyers (particularly those who are supposed to uphold the criminal laws) should not possess and use cocaine and possess marijuana since it is obviously against the law.  A lawyer/state prosecutor in Florida might also not receive such a relatively minimal discipline and would almost certainly lose his or her job.

Be careful out there!

Disclaimer: this e-mail does not contain any legal advice and the comments herein should not be relied upon by anyone who reads it.

 Joseph A. Corsmeier, EsquireLaw Office of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A.

2454 McMullen Booth Road, Suite 431

Clearwater, Florida 33759

Office (727) 799-1688

Fax     (727) 799-1670

jcorsmeier@jac-law.com

www.jac-law.com

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Attorney discipline, Attorney Ethics, joe corsmeier, Lawyer criminal conduct, Lawyer discipline, Lawyer drug misconduct, Prosecutor criminal conduct