Vol. 34, No. 10
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 August 2005)
Fritsche v. People, No. 05PDJ028, 08/06/2005. Attorney Readmitted to Practice Law.
Following a Readmission Hearing, the Hearing Board granted the Verified Petition for Readmission filed by petitioner William J. Fritsche III and readmitted him to the practice of law. Readmittance is subject to satisfying certain procedural conditions.
The Court disbarred petitioner on June 5, 1995, effective July 5, 1995. The underlying case involved, among other things, petitioner’s effective abandonment of clients and a complete disregard for the disciplinary proceedings. In the Readmission Hearing, petitioner demonstrated an overwhelming change, evidenced by a multitude of factors beyond the technical requirements of C.R.C.P. 251.29(a), and the People stipulated to his readmission.
Petitioner complied with all applicable provisions of the readmission process, and the Hearing Board concluded that he met his burden of proof with regard to rehabilitation by clear and convincing evidence. The Hearing Board commended petitioner for the candor and zeal he demonstrated in these proceedings, and encouraged continued enthusiasm and respect for the practice of law in the future. The Hearing Board ordered petitioner to pay the costs incurred in conjunction with this proceeding. Petitioner subsequently satisfied the procedural conditions for readmission, and the Presiding Disciplinary Judge administered the Oath of Admission on August 15, 2005.
Summaries of Decisions Regarding Conditional Admission of Misconduct
Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge
(Through August 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. Carwin, No. 05PDJ020, 08/02/2005. Attorney Suspended.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved the Conditional Admission of Misconduct and suspended Donald R. Carwin, registration number 7265, from the practice of law for a period of six months, with the requirement of reinstatement proceedings pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.29(c-e). Suspension is effective September 2, 2005.
This proceeding arises from respondent’s misconduct in two client matters. In the first client matter, respondent failed to keep his client informed of the status of a criminal appeal, and failed to turn over his client’s file following termination of representation. In a second matter, respondent failed to communicate the basis or rate of his fee to his client within a reasonable time period after commencing representation, and subsequently abandoned his client. Thus, respondent violated Colo.RPC 1.3 (neglect of an entrusted legal matter); Colo.RPC 1.4(a) (failure to keep client reasonably informed regarding status of a matter); Colo.RPC 1.5(b) (failure to communicate the basis or rate of an attorney’s fee in writing); and Colo.RPC 1.16(d) (failure to take reasonably practicable steps to protect a client’s interests). The Court ordered respondent to pay restitution and the costs incurred in conjunction with this proceeding.
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