06/30/2016

Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge: Disciplinary Case Summaries

 

The summaries of disciplinary case Opinions and Conditional Admissions of Misconduct are prepared by the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge (PDJ) and are provided as a service by the CBA. The CBA cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the summaries. Opinions, including exhibits, complaints, amended complaints, and summaries, are available at the PDJ website, www.coloradosupremecourt.com/PDJ/pdj.htm, and on LexisNexis.®

 

Conditional Admissions of Misconduct

No. 16PDJ043. People v. Holcomb. 05/20/2016.

The PDJ approved the parties’ conditional admission of misconduct and publicly censured Shannon Charles Holcomb, attorney registration number 28675, effective May 20, 2016.

On December 20, 2012, Holcomb had an argument with his then-fiancée. According to police reports, Holcomb threw water at her and pushed her toward the stairs, causing her to stumble. The police observed no injuries, nor did Holcomb’s fiancée report any. Holcomb pleaded guilty to Disorderly Conduct—Unreasonable Noise, a class 1 petty offense, with “domestic violence enhancer proven.” He was given a two-year deferred sentence. Conditions included 12 months of supervised probation with domestic violence evaluation and treatment, no further infractions, drug and alcohol monitoring and testing, and 120 hours of public service. Holcomb successfully completed his deferred sentence and conditions of probation on November 14, 2014, and his guilty plea was withdrawn.

Holcomb did not report his conviction to the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel. He stated that he read the reporting rule but interpreted it incorrectly.

Holcomb’s conduct violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b) (a lawyer shall not commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects) and Colo. RPC 3.4(c) (a lawyer shall not knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal).

No. 16PDJ041. People v. Love. 05/11/2016.

The PDJ approved the parties’ conditional admission of misconduct and disbarred Jonathan Mark Love, attorney registration number 20546, effective June 15, 2016.

Love was an assistant chief counsel for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. He represented the government in the immigration removal proceeding of “I.L.,” a Mexican citizen living in the United States. At a hearing in immigration court in Seattle in May 2009, I.L. indicated that he planned to apply for cancellation of removal. Love then altered a form that I.L. had previously executed, changing the signature date and making other material and fraudulent alterations. Love filed the fraudulent form with the court. The effect of the alterations was to make I.L. statutorily ineligible for cancellation of removal. Relying on the fraudulent form that Love filed, the immigration court denied I.L.’s application for cancellation of removal and ordered his voluntary departure from the United States.

I.L. appealed that decision. In a brief filed for the government in 2010, Love asserted that the form in question made I.L. ineligible for cancellation of removal. Relying on the fraudulent form, the Board of Immigration Appeals upheld the immigration court’s order.

On January 15, 2016, Love pleaded guilty to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, a misdemeanor, in violation of 18 USC § 242. He was sentenced to 30 days’ imprisonment and one year of supervised release, and he was ordered to pay $12,000 in restitution.

Love’s conduct violated Colo. RPC 3.3(a)(1) (a lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal); Colo. RPC 3.3(a)(3) (a lawyer shall not knowingly offer false evidence, and a lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures if the lawyer comes to know that false material evidence has been offered); Colo. RPC 8.4(b) (a lawyer shall not commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects); Colo. RPC 8.4(c) (a lawyer shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation); and Colo. RPC 8.4(d) (a lawyer shall not engage in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice).


Opinion Imposing Sanctions

No. 15PDJ057. People v. McQuitty. 03/29/2016.

Following a hearing on the sanctions, a hearing board suspended Jack H. McQuitty, attorney registration number 29452, for one year and one day, subject to the possibility of early reinstatement. McQuitty’s suspension took effect on May 3, 2016.

Following the dissolution of his marriage in 2013, McQuitty and his ex-wife stipulated to temporary support orders, which required McQuitty to pay $3,500 a month in family support. He failed to uphold this obligation, resulting in an arrearage of more than $17,000. McQuitty also failed to produce the required financial disclosures in his dissolution case. In the district court’s final dissolution orders, McQuitty was ordered to pay $7,562 per month in spousal support. In 2014, he moved unsuccessfully to modify that order, and then reduced his monthly support payments without court approval. As of February 2016, McQuitty owed his ex-wife more than $100,000 in past-due spousal support.

Before the disciplinary hearing, the PDJ granted a motion for judgment on the pleadings, concluding that McQuitty contravened Colo. RPC 3.4(c) (a lawyer shall not knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal) and Colo. RPC 8.4(d) (a lawyer shall not engage in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice) when he failed to pay his monthly family support obligations. On summary judgment, the PDJ found that McQuitty knowingly violated Colo. RPC 3.4(c) and 8.4(d) when he failed to pay monthly spousal support and refused to produce the required financial disclosures in his dissolution case.

The hearing board determined that a suspension of one year and one day was appropriate for McQuitty’s misconduct. If McQuitty came into compliance with his court-ordered spousal support obligations during that period of suspension, however, he could seek reinstatement early and serve a three-year period of probation.

On May 12, 2016, the PDJ reinstated McQuitty to the practice of law after he filed a verified petition for reinstatement under CRCP 251.8.5(d), demonstrating his compliance with his court-ordered spousal support obligations. He was placed on a three-year period of probation, with the condition that he shall not violate any Rules of Professional Conduct. The remainder of his one-year-and-one-day suspension was stayed.

 

 

Order of Reciprocal Discipline



No. 16PDJ039. People v. Bagdasarian.
05/09/2016. 

The PDJ approved the parties’ conditional admission of misconduct and disbarred Richard Charles Bagdasarian, attorney registration number 30576. The disbarment took effect on May 9, 2016.

On October 25, 2007, the Supreme Court of Florida disbarred Bagdasarian for converting $1,176,753.26 in funds from approximately 41 clients for his own purposes and for making material misrepresentations to conceal the conversions from his clients. The Supreme Court of Florida concluded that Bagdasarian violated Rules Regulating the Florida Bar 4-1.15 (a lawyer shall comply with the rules regulating trust accounts), 4-8.4(a) (a lawyer shall not violate or attempt to violate the rules of professional conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another), 4-8.4(b) (a lawyer shall not commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer), 4-8.4(c) (a lawyer shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation), 4-8.4(d) (a lawyer shall not engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice), 5-1.1(a)(1) (a lawyer shall hold funds and property belonging to a client or third party in trust), and 5-1.1(b) (a lawyer shall hold money or other property entrusted to the lawyer for a specific purpose in trust). 

Bagdasarian did not notify the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel of his disbarment in 2007, as he was required to do under CRCP 251.28. The Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel discovered that Bagdasarian had been disbarred in Florida after conducting an online search. 

Bagdasarian’s misconduct constituted grounds for reciprocal discipline under CRCP 251.5 and 251.21, which call for imposition of the same discipline as that imposed in Florida.