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TCL > December 2005 Issue > Summaries of Disciplinary Opinions

The Colorado Lawyer
December 2005
Vol. 34, No. 12 [Page  179]

© 2005 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association. All Rights Reserved.

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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.


People v. Menter, No. 04PDJ092 (consolidated with Nos. 05PDJ003 and 05PDJ018), 09/16/2005. Attorney Disbarred.

Following a sanctions hearing, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge disbarred respondent Jeffrey Menter, attorney registration number 00858, from the practice of law. Disbarment is effective October 17, 2005. The Court also ordered respondent to pay restitution and the costs incurred in conjunction with these proceedings.

The facts admitted through the entry of default showed that respondent knowingly violated three court orders and knowingly continued to practice law while under suspension. The admitted facts proved numerous other rule violations, however, the gravamen of this case is respondent’s violations of Colo. RPC 3.4(c) (knowing failure to comply with a court order) and Colo. RPC 5.5(a) (practicing law in violation of the regulations of the legal profession). Respondent failed to participate or present any mitigating evidence in these proceedings. Accordingly, the Court found no adequate basis to depart from the presumptive sanction of disbarment.

A condition of readmission includes timely payment of full restitution, as ordered by the Court. Also, respondent must pay costs of the disciplinary proceeding.

People v. Scott, No. 05PDJ011 (consolidated with No. 05PDJ032), 09/07/2005. Attorney Suspended for One Year and One Day.

On July 11–13, 2005, a Hearing Board held a hearing pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.18, and suspended respondent David Alan Scott, attorney registration number 26909, from the practice of law for one year and one day. Suspension is effective October 8, 2005.

Respondent engaged in criminal conduct that seriously and adversely reflected on his fitness to practice law when he knowingly assaulted, falsely imprisoned, and harassed his ex-wife. Respondent also knowingly violated the provisions of a court-ordered "Parenting Plan." His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and constituted violations of Colo. RPC 8.4(b) (committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects) and Colo. RPC 3.4(c) (knowing failure to comply with a court order). Respondent’s misconduct resulted in actual bodily injury to his ex-wife, and actual or potential harm to his children and the public at large. The People provided evidence of a number of aggravating factors and respondent failed to provide significant evidence of mitigating factors.

The Hearing Board ordered respondent to complete a certified domestic violence treatment program. Respondent also must pay the costs incurred in conjunction with the disciplinary proceedings.


Summaries of Decisions Regarding Conditional Admission of Misconduct
Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge
(Through October 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. Caughron, No. 05PDJ065, 10/12/2005. Attorney Suspended for Three Months.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent R. Clifton Caughron, attorney registration number 14027, from the practice of law for a period of six months. The suspension will be followed by a three-year period of probation, with a two-year suspension stayed during that probation, subject to conditions. Sanction is effective November 11, 2005.

On March 9, 2005, the Montana Supreme Court imposed an identical sanction. Pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.21(d), the parties agreed reciprocal discipline should be imposed in Colorado.

The case in Montana arose from respondent’s misconduct in seven client matters. Respondent violated Mont. RPC 1.1 (failed to provide competent representation); Mont. RPC 1.3 (neglected an entrusted legal matter); Mont. RPC 1.4 (failed to communicate with his client); Mont. RPC 1.5 (charged an unreasonable fee); Mont. RPC 1.15(b) (failed to notify client of property in lawyer’s possession); Mont. RPC 31. (asserted unmeritorious claims); Mont. RPC 3.3 (candor toward a tribunal); Mont. RPC 3.4(c) (knowingly disobeyed an obligation under the rules of a tribunal); and Mont. RPC 8.4(c) (engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice).

People v. Chasar, No. 05PDJ046, 10/12/2005. Attorney Suspended for Two Years.

Following a hearing, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent Kathleen Scott Chasar, attorney registration number 29101, from the practice of law for a period of two years. Suspension is effective November 11, 2005.

On February 25, 2005, the New Jersey Supreme Court suspended respondent from the practice of law for a period of three months after she made a material misrepresentation to a New Jersey court in her divorce proceedings. Her misconduct violated N.J. RPC 3.3(a)(1) (made a false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal); N.J. RPC 3.3(a)(4) (offered evidence she knew to be false); N.J. RPC 4.1(a) (made a false statement of material fact to a third person); and N.J. RPC 8.4(c) (engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation). Respondent also failed to comply with C.R.C.P. 251.21(b) by failing to report the New Jersey discipline in Colorado.

The parties agreed that the misconduct warranted a substantially different form of discipline in Colorado than the discipline imposed by the New Jersey Supreme Court. The parties therefore agreed to the two-year suspension.

People v. Foster, No. 05PDJ070, 10/12/2005. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Three-Year Probation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent Steven James Foster, attorney registration number 20400, from the practice of law for a period of thirty days, all stayed upon successful completion of a three-year period of probation subject to conditions. Sanction is effective November 11, 2005.

On April 8, 2005, respondent received a deferred sentence on charges of harassment–domestic violence (a Class 3 misdemeanor) and third-degree criminal trespass–domestic violence (a Class 1 petty offense). Respondent’s criminal sentence was for four years of supervised probation with conditions, including domestic violence counseling, a mental health evaluation, and parenting classes. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b) (committed a criminal act that reflected adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects).

People v. Hicks, No. 05PDJ067, 10/12/2005. Attorney Suspended for One Year.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent Lynne L. Hicks, attorney registration number 20415, from the practice of law for a period of one year. Sanction is effective November 11, 2005.

Respondent essentially abandoned six of her clients. Each of respondent’s clients retained new counsel, however, this action resulted in a delay of proceedings for her clients. Her misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.3 (neglected an entrusted legal matter); Colo. RPC 1.4(a) (failed to keep her client reasonably informed regarding the status of a matter); Colo. RPC 1.16(d) (failed to take reasonably practicable steps to protect the interests of her clients); Colo. RPC 3.4(c) (knowingly disobeyed an obligation under the rules of a tribunal); and Colo. RPC 8.4(d) (engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice). Respondent cooperated with the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel and is now on disability inactive status.

People v. McDermott, No. 05PDJ056, 10/12/2005. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of Two-Year Probation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent Richard H. McDermott, attorney registration number 15768, from the practice of law for a period of thirty days, all stayed upon successful completion of a two-year period of probation subject to conditions. Sanction is effective November 11, 2005.

Respondent failed to remain current on court-ordered child support and child-care obligations. Following his immediate suspension, respondent obtained funds and came into compliance with his child support and child-care obligations. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 3.4(c) (knowingly disobeyed an obligation under the rules of a tribunal).

People v. Shunneson, No. 05PDJ069, 10/12/2005. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of Three-Year Probation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent Arnold William Shunneson, attorney registration number 22121, from the practice of law for a period of one year and one day, all stayed upon successful completion of a three-year period of probation subject to conditions. Sanction is effective November 11, 2005.

Respondent negligently failed to comply with trust account rules and negligently failed to safeguard client funds. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.15(a) (a lawyer shall hold property of clients separate from the attorney’s own property); Colo. RPC 1.15(f)(1) and (f)(2) (paid personal and/or business expenses from the COLTAF account); and Colo. RPC 1.15(g) (required accounting records and accounting functions with respect to trust accounts). No client suffered actual harm as a result of the misconduct, and respondent took the initiative to enroll in and complete the Trust Account School.

© 2005 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association. All Rights Reserved. Material from The Colorado Lawyer provided via this World Wide Web server is protected by the copyright laws of the United States and may not be reproduced in any way or medium without permission. This material also is subject to the disclaimers at http://www.cobar.org/tcl/disclaimer.cfm?year=2005.


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