Search



Not a CBA Member? Join Now!
Find A Lawyer Directory
Find A Lawyer Directory

Calendars

TCL > December 2006 Issue > Summaries of Disciplinary Opinions

The Colorado Lawyer
December 2006
Vol. 35, No. 12 [Page  131]

© 2006 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association. All Rights Reserved.

All material from The Colorado Lawyer provided via this World Wide Web server is copyrighted by the Colorado Bar Association. Before accessing any specific article, click here for disclaimer information.

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 Opinions generally follow the summaries pages. The summaries and full-text Opinions also are accessible from the CBA website: http://www.cobar.org (click on The Colorado Lawyer tab, then the appropriate issue). Opinions, 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

People v. Asmus, No. 06PDJ018, 09/15/2006. Attorney Disbarred.

Following a sanctions hearing, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge disbarred respondent Douglas R. Asmus, attorney registration number 17397, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective October 16, 2006.

Respondent neglected two clients, knowingly converted their funds, and engaged in other misconduct. Respondent also failed to participate or present any mitigating evidence in these proceedings. The facts admitted by default proved violations of Colo. RPC 1.3; Colo. RPC 1.4
(a-b); Colo. RPC 1.15(a); Colo. RPC 1.16(d); Colo. RPC 3.4(c); and Colo. RPC 8.4(c). Accordingly, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge found no adequate basis to depart from the presumptive sanction of disbarment. p.133.

People v. Carwin, No. 05PDJ084 (consolidated with No. 06PDJ020), 08/22/2006. Attorney Disbarred.

Following a sanctions hearing, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge disbarred respondent Donald R. Carwin, attorney registration number 07265, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective September 22, 2006.

Respondent knowingly converted funds in two client matters and knowingly practiced law with a suspended license in one client matter. Respondent also failed to participate or present any mitigating evidence in these proceedings. The facts admitted by default proved violations of Colo. RPC 1.3; Colo. RPC 1.4(a-b); Colo. RPC 1.5(b); Colo. RPC 1.15(b); Colo. RPC 1.15(f)(1); Colo. RPC 1.16(d); Colo. RPC 5.5(a); and Colo. RPC 8.4(c). Accordingly, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge found no adequate basis to depart from the presumptive sanction of disbarment. p.135.

People v. D’Acquisto, No. 05PDJ075, 08/09/2006. Attorney Suspended for Three Years.

Following a sanctions hearing, a Hearing Board suspended respondent Daniel Paul D’Acquisto, attorney registration number 32376, from the practice of law for a period of three years. Suspension was effective September 9, 2006. The Hearing Board also outlined a number of conditions precedent to respondent’s filing of a future petition for reinstatement.

Prior to the sanctions hearing, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge granted a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel as to all claims alleged in the complaint. The established facts revealed that respondent failed to refund or account to one of his clients for $3,500 in fees tendered for pre-trial representation, and failed to appear for scheduled events in six client matters.

Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5 and violated Colo. RPC 1.3; Colo. RPC 1.4(a); Colo. RPC 1.16(d); Colo. RPC 3.4(c); Colo. RPC 8.4(c); and Colo. RPC 8.4(d). The Hearing Board found significant evidence of mitigation, which contributed to respondent’s failure to act professionally. p.137.

People v. Hahn, No. 05PDJ071, 08/22/2006. Attorney Disbarred.

Following a sanctions hearing, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge disbarred respondent James Henry Hahn, attorney registration number 12811, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective September 22, 2006.

Respondent knowingly converted funds in one client matter involving two bankruptcy cases and knowingly practiced law with a suspended license in another client matter. Respondent also failed to participate or present any mitigating evidence in these proceedings.

The facts admitted by default proved violations of Colo. RPC 1.15(a-c); Colo. RPC 1.16(d); Colo. RPC 3.4(c); Colo. RPC 5.5(a), and Colo. RPC 8.4(c). Accordingly, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge found no adequate basis to depart from the presumptive sanction of disbarment. p.140.

People v. Kiesewetter, No. 99PDJ116, 09/07/2006. Attorney Disbarred.

Following a sanctions hearing, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge disbarred respondent William B. Kiesewetter, attorney registration number 14503, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective October 8, 2006. This is a reciprocal discipline action from the state of Pennsylvania.

The facts admitted through the entry of default showed respondent defrauded his sisters and nephews of family assets and misappropriated entrusted funds. The principal value of the family assets exceeded $2.4 million. Respondent also failed to participate or present any mitigating evidence in these proceedings.

The admitted facts proved a violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(c), which therefore warrants the imposition of reciprocal discipline under C.R.C.P. 251.21. Accordingly, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge found no adequate basis to depart from the presumptive sanction of disbarment. p.142.

People v. Wheeler, No. 06PDJ033, 09/07/2006. Attorney Disbarred.

Following a sanctions hearing, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge disbarred respondent Bobby O. Wheeler, attorney registration number 21059, from the practice of law, effective October 8, 2006. This is a reciprocal discipline action from the state of California.

The facts admitted through the entry of default showed respondent violated a court rule and order following his disbarment by the California Supreme Court. Respondent also failed to participate or present any mitigating evidence in these proceedings.

The admitted facts proved a violation of Colo. RPC 3.4(c), which therefore warrants the imposition of reciprocal discipline under C.R.C.P. 251.21. Accordingly, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge found no adequate basis to depart from the presumptive sanction of disbarment. p.143.


 Summaries of Decisions Regarding Conditional Admission of Misconduct Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge

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, Suite 675, Denver, CO 80202; (303) 866-6658; http://www.coloradosupremecourt.com/PJD/pdj.htm. 

People v. Bishop, No. 06PDJ070, 09/29/2006. Attorney Suspension Stayed Upon Successful Completion of Three-Year Probation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent Morgan D. Bishop, attorney registration number 36076, from the practice of law for a period of one year and one day. All but three months of the suspension are stayed, upon the successful completion of a three-year period of probation, with conditions. The sanction became effective October 30, 2006.

On July 13, 2006, respondent pled guilty to Stalking—Emotional Distress, in violation of CRS § 18-9-111(4)(b)(III), a class 5 felony. Respondent received a two-year deferred sentence for this crime, which is a "serious crime" as defined by C.R.C.P. 251.20(e)(1). 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).

People v. Gabalac, No. 06PDJ073, 09/29/2006. Attorney Suspension Stayed Upon Successful Completion of Two-Year Probation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent Miki Gabalac, attorney registration number 22475, from the practice of law for a period of ninety days. All but thirty days of the suspension are stayed, upon the successful completion of a two-year period of probation, with conditions. The sanction became effective October 30, 2006.

While administratively suspended from the practice of law for failing to pay attorney registration fees, respondent and her husband created a consulting company and engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline, pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 5.5(a).

People v. Garcia, No. 06PDJ080, 10/19/2006. Attorney Suspension Stayed Upon Successful Completion of One-Year Probation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent Richard D. Garcia, attorney registration number 18126, from the practice of law for a period of ninety days. The suspension is stayed, upon the successful completion of a one-year period of probation, with conditions. The sanction became effective November 19, 2006.

Respondent represented a husband and wife in an immigration matter. In the course of his representation, respondent missed a court deadline when he failed to properly supervise his staff and subsequently failed to disclose to his clients the remedy of ineffective assistance of counsel. The harm caused to his clients has been mitigated due to the efforts of subsequent counsel. However, respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline, pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.1; Colo. RPC 1.1 1.3; Colo. RPC 1.1 1.4(b); and Colo. RPC 1.1 5.3(b).

People v. Thompson, No. 06PDJ079, 10/19/2006. Attorney Suspension Stayed Upon Successful Completion of One-Year Probation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent Ben W. Thompson, attorney registration number 12685, from the practice of law for a period of thirty days. The suspension is stayed upon the successful completion of a one-year period of probation, with conditions. The sanction became effective November 19, 2006.

Respondent originally represented a husband and wife in a series of battles over visitation and custody of their grandchildren. Respondent subsequently entered his appearance as counsel for the wife when he filed a divorce petition on her behalf. However, respondent had a conflict of interest at this time, because he still represented the husband and wife in the case involving their grandchildren. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline, pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.7(a) and 8.4(d).

People v. Wright, No. 06PDJ039, 10/19/2006. Attorney Suspension Stayed Upon Successful Completion of One-Year Probation.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent Sandra L. Wright, attorney registration number 33457, from the practice of law for a period of six months. The suspension is stayed, upon the successful completion of a one-year period of probation, with conditions. The sanction became effective November 19, 2006.

Respondent sued a kitchen design company for breach of contract; a jury found in favor of the kitchen design company. The jury awarded monetary damages to the kitchen design company, which subsequently issued Rule 69 interrogatories to respondent.

In her responses, respondent did not completely identify the lien-holders on vehicles transferred to her trust, but provided the information in a subsequent disclosure. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline, pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 3.4(d).

© 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.


Back