Vol. 31, No. 4
From the Courts
Colorado Disciplinary Cases
Summaries of Opinions
Summaries of Decisions Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge
(January 20, 2002, through February 20, 2002)
People v. Nelson, No. 00PDJ089 (consolidated with 01PDJ061), 01/08/02. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board disbarred Respondent Jean Shama Nelson from the practice of law in the state of Colorado. Nelson’s misconduct constituted three violations of Colo. RPC 3.4(c), three violations of Colo. RPC 5.5(a), three violations of Colo. RPC 1.3, three violations of Colo. RPC 1.4(a), two violations of Colo. RPC 1.16(d), and one violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(c). Nelson was suspended from the practice of law on May 27, 1999, for failing to comply with mandatory continuing legal education requirements, and did not file the requisite affidavit with the Supreme Court attesting that he had notified clients and opposing counsel of his suspension, in violation of Colo. RPC 3(c). He was not reinstated from that suspension until December 27, 1999. Nelson was again suspended from the practice of law on May 9, 2000, under C.R.C.P. 251.8.5, for failure to comply with court orders regarding child support payments, and again failed to file the required affidavit, in violation of Colo. RPC 3.4(c). During the time period that he was authorized to practice law, Nelson neglected legal matters entrusted to him and failed to adequately communicate with his clients. While under suspension, Nelson continued to practice law in state and federal courts, in defiance of the suspension orders and in violation of Colo. RPC 5.5(a). In at least four separate cases, Nelson continued to represent clients in ongoing cases. In two matters, Nelson failed to return the file to the clients on request. Nelson engaged in knowing conversion of his client’s funds, in violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(c). Nelson’s misconduct resulted in severe injury to his clients —in one matter resulting in the deportment of the client’s husband from the United States, and dismissal of the client’s case in another matter. Nelson was ordered to pay restitution to one client prior to seeking readmission, and ordered to pay the costs of the consolidated disciplinary proceeding. p.000.
People v. Segal, No. 01PDJ027(consolidated with 01PDJ047), 02/06/02. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board suspended Segal from the practice of law for a period of eighteen months, with eight months stayed, followed by a one-year period of probation subject to conditions. Following his administrative suspension, which arose from his failure to pay attorney registration fees, Segal failed to file an affidavit with the Supreme Court. Segal violated Colo. RPC 5.5(a) by appearing on behalf of a client in a criminal matter while under administrative suspension. Segal engaged in various forms of neglect with regard to five separate clients, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.3: (1) he failed to appear at scheduled court matters; (2) he failed to take adequate actions on behalf of a client with regard to a breach of contract claim; (3) he failed to appear for a client’s sentencing hearing and the rescheduled hearing; (4) he failed to return phone calls to a separate client and replacement counsel; and (5) he failed to set a hearing to modify child custody or communicate adequately with the client despite the client’s repeated attempts to contact him. In two matters, Segal violated Colo. RPC 1.4(a) by failing to communicate with his clients. By failing to appear on behalf of clients in two matters, and appearing while under administrative suspension in one matter, Segal violated Colo. RPC 8.4(d) by causing the court to schedule additional hearings due to Segal’s actions. In one matter, the court permitted Segal’s client to change his plea and request a preliminary hearing. Segal violated Colo. RPC 3.4(e) in one instance by asserting his personal knowledge of facts in issue in the course of trial. p.000.
People v. LaBarre, No.01PDJ090, 01/28/02. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge reinstated Edward J. LaBarre, attorney registration number 08116, to the practice of law, effective February 17, 2002. (No written Opinion was issued.)
People v. Ventura, No.01PDJ075, 01/28/02. Attorney Regulation.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge reinstated George G. Ventura, attorney registration number 18031, to the practice of law, effective February 19, 2002, subject to a nine-month period of probation with conditions. (No written Opinion was issued.)
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