Vol. 32, No. 2
From the Courts
Colorado Disciplinary Cases
Summaries of Opinions
Summaries of Decisions Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge(Through 12/04/02)
People v. Weisbard, No. 01PDJ093, 12/04/02. Attorney Disbarred.
In this default proceeding, the Hearing Board disbarred Respondent Robert J. Weisbard, attorney registration number 18038, from the practice of law in the state of Colorado. Respondent engaged in dishonesty in two matters, in violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(c); neglected clients’ legal matters in five matters, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.3; failed to adequately communicate with clients in three matters, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.4(a); failed to provide an accounting in five matters; and failed to return the clients’ files upon request in four matters, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.15(b). In one matter, respondent accepted fees in advance, failed to perform legal services sufficient to earn all of the fees, and failed to return the unearned fees after termination by the client. In three matters, Weisbard failed to return the clients’ files, in violation of Colo. RPC 1.16(d). Respondent did not respond to the requests for investigation forwarded to him by the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, as required by C.R.C.P. 251.5. An examination of respondent’s disciplinary record revealed extensive and similar prior misconduct, predating the misconduct that is evident in this case. Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding and to repay amounts owed to clients. p.109.
Summaries of Decisions Regarding Conditional Admissions of Misconduct
Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge
[The Presiding Disciplinary Judge’s approval of Conditional Admissions of Misconduct does not result in a written Opinion but only a brief Order, which does not constitute precedent. Conditional Admissions of Misconduct are public record and are available for review at the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge, 600 17th St., Suite 510-South, Denver, CO 80202; (303) 825-2797. They are also available on LexisNexisTM at www.lexis.com/research by clicking on States Legal U.S./Colorado/Cases and Court Rules/By Court/Colorado Supreme Court Disciplinary Opinions.]
People v. Angelos, No. 02PDJ025, 11/21/02. Attorney Suspended.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and suspended Mark T. Angelos, attorney registration number 07600, from the practice of law in the state of Colorado for a period of two years, with all but nine months stayed, and imposed the requirement of a petition for reinstatement following the period of suspension. Respondent wrote checks for cash from his trust account to pay personal expenses, using both his own funds deposited in the trust account and a portion of the unearned retainers he had received from clients. Respondent commingled personal and client funds in his trust account and failed to keep funds belonging to his clients separate from his own funds. Respondent negligently exercised dominion and control over the clients’ funds. The respondent’s mental condition was considered a mitigating factor. Respondent violated Colo. RPC 1.15(a) and Colo. RPC 8.4(c). Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding.
People v. Gagliardi, No. 02PDJ090, 12/04/02. Attorney Suspended.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and suspended Christopher J. Gagliardi, attorney registration number 29504, from the practice of law in the state of Colorado for a period of one year and one day, six months and one day stayed during a one-year period of probation subject to conditions. Respondent entered a plea of guilty to a Class 6 felony, assault in the heat of passion, and to disorderly conduct, a Class 3 misdemeanor. Pursuant to a revised plea, respondent was sentenced to two concurrent terms of probation: three years’ probation for attempted menacing with a deadly weapon, a Class 6 felony; and six months’ probation for disorderly conduct, a Class 3 misdemeanor. Respondent violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b), constituting a serious crime within the meaning of C.R.C.P. 251.20. Respondent reported his guilty plea to the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel and was thereafter immediately suspended. Respondent was ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding.
People v. Howe, No. 02PDJ095, 12/04/02. Attorney Suspended for Three Years, Subject to Conditions.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved the parties’ Amended Conditional Admission of Misconduct and suspended Edwin A. Howe II, attorney registration number 09774, from the practice of law in the state of Colorado for a period of three years, with the requirement of restitution and subject to conditions. Respondent was a sole practitioner and handled cases primarily on a contingency fee basis. From January 1999 through at least March 2000, respondent routinely deposited client cost retainers into his law office business accounts. On several occasions, the balance in the accounts dropped below the amount belonging to clients or owed to third parties. Respondent failed to timely pay service providers from the funds held for that purpose. In one matter, respondent deposited checks paid to him on behalf of his client into his trust account and wrote checks to himself and another attorney for attorney fees, thereby negligently using a portion of the funds that belonged to the client. He also commingled personal funds with client funds in the trust account. From 1999 through early 2002, respondent failed to maintain adequate records of his law office accounts. In 2000 and 2001, respondent wrote insufficient fund checks on his trust account and business account. Respondent’s personal and emotional problems were considered a mitigating factor. Respondent violated Colo. RPC 1.15(a), Colo. RPC 1.15(b), Colo. RPC 1.15(g), Colo. RPC 8.4(c), and Colo. RPC 8.4(h). Respondent was ordered to pay restitution and the costs of the proceeding.
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