Vol. 35, No. 4
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 January 2006)
People v. Barr, No. 05PDJ038, 01/10/2006. Attorney Disbarred.
Following a sanctions hearing, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge disbarred respondent Stuart George Barr, attorney registration number 04032, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective February 10, 2006. 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 that respondent breached his duties to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client when he knowingly failed to file a complaint on behalf of his client in a personal injury action prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations. Respondent’s conduct caused serious harm to his client. Respondent also knowingly failed to respond or cooperate with the People in the investigation of this matter. The admitted facts proved violations of Colo. RPC 1.3 and 8.1(b) and warrant discipline under C.R.C.P. 251.5(d). 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. p.153.
People v. Gustafson, No. 05PDJ021, 12/21/2005. Attorney Disbarred.
Following a sanctions hearing, a Hearing Board disbarred respondent Gary L. Gustafson, attorney registration number 07955, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective January 21, 2006. The Hearing Board also ordered respondent to pay the costs incurred in conjunction with these proceedings.
Respondent knowingly converted client funds when he failed to transfer approximately $80,000 of settlement funds belonging to an estate to the client and, instead, used the funds for his own purposes, without seeking the permission of the estate. Respondent’s actions deprived the estate for nearly two years of a portion of the settlement funds appropriately belonging to it. Respondent also failed to respond without good cause to requests by the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel for information necessary to carry out its investigation of the matter. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.1(b). Respondent’s misconduct violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c) and C.R.C.P. 251.5(d). p.154.
Summaries of Decisions Regarding Conditional Admission of Misconduct Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge
(Through January 2006)
[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. Escobedo-Betson, No. 05PDJ073, 02/07/2006. Attorney Suspended.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent Ida Escobedo-Betson, attorney registration number 19341, from the practice of law for a period of four months. Suspension was effective March 10, 2006. Thirty days of the suspension were stayed upon the successful completion of a two-year period of probation, with conditions.
Respondent, who worked as a guardian ad litem ("GAL") for the state of Colorado, knowingly disobeyed obligations under the rules of a tribunal when she failed to comply with Chief Justice Directive 97-02 ("Directive"). The Directive specifically requires that a GAL meet with his or her assigned children at their homes or other placements. Contrary to the Directive, respondent met with a significant number of the children at locations other than their homes or other placements. Respondent also knowingly made a false statement of material fact to a tribunal when she submitted an affidavit of compliance asserting that she had met all the requirements of the Directive. 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), Colo. RPC 3.3(a)(1), and Colo. RPC 8.4(c).
© 2006 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=2006