|The Colorado Lawyer|
Vol. 35, No. 2 [Page 119]
© 2006 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.
Summaries of Decisions Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge
(Through November 2005)
People v. Mitchell, No. 05PDJ023, 10/28/2005. Attorney Disbarred.
Following a sanctions hearing, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge disbarred respondent Wilhemena Lawrence Mitchell, attorney registration number 03526, from the practice of law. Disbarment is effective November 28, 2005. The Presiding Disciplinary Judge also ordered respondent to pay restitution and the costs incurred in conjunction with these proceedings.
The facts admitted through the entry of default showed respondent knowingly converted client funds when she failed to complete work promised to her clients pursuant to flat-fee agreements, and treated these funds as her own by exchanging client checks for cash. In each client matter, respondent failed to refund or provide an accounting for any portion of the unearned funds paid by her clients. Respondent’s conduct caused serious harm to three clients. The admitted facts proved multiple violations of Colo. RPC 8.4(c).
Respondent failed to participate or present any mitigating evidence in these proceedings. Accordingly, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge found no adequate basis to depart from the presumptive sanction of disbarment.
Summaries of Decisions Regarding Conditional Admission of Misconduct Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge
(Through November 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, 1560 Broadway, Denver, CO 80202; (303) 866-6658; http://www.coloradosupremecourt.com/PJD/pdj.htm.
People v. Rabinowitz, No. 05PDJ052, 11/29/2005. Attorney Suspended for One Year and One Day.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent Victor C. Rabinowitz, attorney registration number 21224, from the practice of law for a period of one year and one day. Suspension is effective December 30, 2005. The Presiding Disciplinary Judge also ordered respondent to pay the costs incurred in conjunction with these proceedings.
Respondent knowingly engaged in criminal conduct when, in the state of California, he caused an automobile accident while under the influence of a controlled substance. Respondent caused serious injuries to the driver of the other vehicle while under the influence of cocaine. 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) and Colo. RPC 8.4(h). Respondent also violated C.R.C.P. 251.20(b) when he failed to report his conviction, and C.R.C.P. 251.21(b) when he failed to report the California discipline.
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