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TCL > August 2005 Issue > Summaries of Disciplinary Opinions

August 2005       Vol. 34, No. 8       Page  171
From the Courts
Colorado Disciplinary Cases

Summaries of Disciplinary Opinions

The summaries for the Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board are prepared by the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge. The summaries of the decisions of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge are provided as a service by the Colorado Bar Association and are not the official language of the Decisions. The Colorado Bar Association cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the summaries.

Full copies of the Decisions generally follow the summaries pages. The summaries and full-text Decisions also are accessible from the CBA website: http://www.cobar.org (click on The Colorado Lawyer tab, then the appropriate issue). Decisions, including Exhibits, Complaints, and Amended Complaints and summaries, also are available at the Office of Presiding Disciplinary Judge website: http://www.coloradosupremecourt.com/PDJ/pdj.htm, as well as on LexisNexis® at http://www.lexis.com/research, by clicking on States Legal-U.S./Colorado/Cases/CO Supreme Court Disciplinary Opinions from 1999.


Summaries of Decisions Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge
(through June 2005)

People v. Linville, No. 04PDJ089, 4/27/2005. Attorney Disbarred.

Upon conclusion of a sanctions hearing, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge disbarred respondent Wiley T. Linville, attorney registration number 19373, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective May 28, 2005. Respondent also was ordered to pay the costs incurred in conjunction with this proceeding.

It was established through the entry of default that respondent violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation) by knowingly converting funds in a charitable trust for his own personal use and then attempting to conceal the conversion by concocting a story about a loan. At the time, respondent was acting in a fiduciary capacity as trustee. Although respondent completed restitution and has no prior discipline, aggravating factors included a dishonest and selfish motive, deceptive practices during the disciplinary process, and substantial experience in the practice of law. The Presiding Disciplinary Judge found no adequate basis to depart from the presumptive sanction for conversion. p.000.


Summaries of Decisions Regarding Conditional Admission of Misconduct Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge
(through June 2005)

[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 http://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. Hunsaker, No. 04PDJ093, 6/13/2005. Attorney Disbarred.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and disbarred respondent William J. Hunsaker, Jr., attorney registration number 33868, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective July 14, 2005.

Respondent was criminally charged with felony sex offenses in Larimer County District Court. Released on bond, respondent failed to appear in court and remained a fugitive from justice for six months until he was arrested in Costa Rica.

Respondent violated Colo. RPC 3.4(c) (knowing disobedience of an obligation under the rules of a tribunal) and Colo. RPC 8.4(d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice). Respondent also was ordered to pay the costs incurred in conjunction with this proceeding.

People v. Makepeace, No. 05PDJ007, 6/6/2005. Attorney Suspended.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and suspended respondent John Tyler Makepeace, attorney registration number 3029, from the practice of law for a period of one year and one day, effective July 7, 2005. All but thirty days of the suspension are stayed pending successful completion of a two-year period of probation.

This proceeding arises out of respondent’s misconduct in five client matters. In sum, respondent failed to act with reasonable diligence, failed to communicate adequately regarding both the representation and his fees, and failed to record and handle funds properly. Thus, respondent violated Colo. RPC 1.3 (neglect of an entrusted legal matter); Colo. RPC 1.4(a) (failure to keep client reasonably informed and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information); Colo. RPC 1.5(b) (failure to communicate basis of fee agreement in writing within a reasonable time after commencing representation); Colo. RPC 1.15(a) (failure to hold client property separate from the attorney’s own property); and Colo. RPC 1.15(g) (failure to maintain adequate financial records). Conditions of probation include a practice monitor, as well as successful completion of an ethics course and a trust account course. Respondent also was ordered to pay the costs incurred in conjunction with this proceeding.

People v. Mazurek, No. 05PDJ047, 6/13/2005. Attorney Suspended.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and suspended respondent Thaddeus A. Mazurek, Jr., attorney registration number 17319. Suspension is for nine months and effective July 14, 2005.

This proceeding arises out of respondent’s relationship with a female divorce client whose case involved child custody issues. The relationship developed after the representation began, resulting in a conflict. In addition, respondent misrepresented the client’s financial situation to a court by stating that she was required to pay legal fees that respondent actually had refunded.

Accordingly, respondent violated Colo. RPC 1.7(b) (representation of a client when the representation may be materially limited by the lawyer’s own interests); Colo. RPC 3.3 (failure to be candid with a tribunal); Colo. RPC 8.4(c) (conduct involving dishonesty); and Colo. RPC 8.4(d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice). Respondent was ordered to pay the costs incurred in conjunction with this proceeding, and must undergo reinstatement proceedings pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.29(c)-(e).

People v. Mintz, No. 05PDJ051, 6/16/2005. Attorney Suspended.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved the parties’ Conditional Admission of Misconduct and suspended respondent David J. Mintz, attorney registration number10618, from the practice of law for a period of ninety days, effective July 17, 2005. The entire suspension is stayed pending successful completion of a one-year period of probation.

This proceeding arises out of respondent’s misconduct with respect to four clients. First, respondent charged an unreasonable fee by collecting a 40 percent contingency fee and retaining a fee received from Medicaid, while failing to communicate this arrangement to the client. Second, respondent did not inform a client of delay in paying a provider. Third, respondent improperly transferred money from his trust account to his office account. Fourth, respondent improperly loaned money to a client, who was also his bookkeeper. Respondent also charged his clients a flat fee for copies and postage, rather than actual costs incurred.

Thus, respondent violated Colo. RPC 1.5(a) (unreasonable fee); Colo. RPC 1.4(a) (failure to keep client reasonably informed); Colo. RPC 1.15(a) (failure to hold client property separate from the attorney’s own property); and Colo. RPC 1.8(a) (entering into a business transaction with a client or knowingly acquiring a pecuniary interest adverse to a client). Conditions of probation include successful completion of an ethics school and payment of restitution. Respondent also was ordered to pay the costs incurred in conjunction with this proceeding.

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