Vol. 36, No. 1
From the Courts
Colorado Disciplinary Cases
Disciplinary Case Summaries
These disciplinary case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge (PDJ) and are provided as a service by the Colorado Bar Association (CBA). The CBA cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the summaries.
The full text of the Opinions follows 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, amended complaints, and summaries, also are available at the Office of the PDJ 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 Opinions
People v. Serna, No. 06PDJ023, 11/03/2006. Attorney Disbarred.
Following a sanctions hearing, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge disbarred respondent Cecilia M. Serna, attorney registration number 16345, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective November 3, 2006.
Respondent knowingly converted client funds, knowingly violated the terms of a prior disciplinary order, and caused injury. Respondent also failed to participate or present any mitigating evidence in these proceedings. The facts admitted by default proved violations of Colo. RPC 1.4(a) and (b); 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.125.
Summaries of Conditional Admissions of Misconduct
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, Ste. 675, Denver, CO 80202; (303) 866-6658; http://www.coloradosupremecourt.com/PDJ/pdj.htm. They are also available on LexisNexis® 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. Ferrigno, No. 06PDJ091, 11/07/2006. Attorney Disbarred.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and disbarred respondent Kenny J. Ferrigno, attorney registration number 23180, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective December 7, 2006.
Respondent signed a plea agreement acknowledging that he violated 47 U.S.C. § 605(a) and 47 U.S.C. § 605(e). Specifically, respondent sold 2,604 DSS-card reprogramming devices that enabled the purchaser to decrypt satellite signals from DirecTV satellites. Respondent received a sentence of one year and one day in federal custody as a result of his plea. Respondent thereafter requested that the Supreme Court of Illinois strike his name from the Roll of Attorneys and they granted his request. The People sought the same discipline imposed by the Supreme Court of Illinois, as respondent engaged in conduct constituting grounds for discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5(b) and (d), and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b) and (c).
People v. Turner, No. 05PDJ080 (consolidated with Nos. 05PDJ083 and 06PDJ089), 11/09/2006. Attorney Suspended.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent Heather J. Turner, attorney registration number 17088, from the practice of law for a period of thirty months, with conditions of reinstatement. Suspension was effective November 9, 2006.
Respondent engaged in several instances of misconduct involving more than twenty clients, most involving her neglect of legal matters and failure to return client files and fees.She also engaged in criminal conduct and pled guilty to fraud by check, a Class 2 misdemeanor. Class 2 misdemeanor. 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 1.5(a) and (b); Colo. RPC 1.15(a); Colo. 1.16(d); Colo. RPC 3.4(d); Colo. RPC 8.4(b); and Colo. RPC 8.4(c). The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved the proposed stipulation in part due to the significant mitigating factors of respondent’s mental health during the misconduct and her subsequent full and free disclosure in the disciplinary proceedings.
People v. Vance, No. 06PDJ092, 11/16/2006. Public Censure.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and publicly censured respondent Calvin P. Vance, attorney registration number 20072. Sanction is dated November 16, 2006.
On April 24, 2006, respondent entered into a no-contest plea to violations of DR 2-106(A) (excessive fee), DR 2-110(A)(3) (withdrawal from employment), and DR 9- 101(A) (preserving client funds) of the Oregon Code of Professional Responsibility. Respondent failed to deposit a retainer fee of $30,000 into a trust account and failed to promptly refund the unearned portion of the fee upon withdrawing from employment. On May 2, 2006, the Supreme Court of Oregon "publicly reprimanded" respondent for his code violations. Respondent did not challenge the order from the Supreme Court of Oregon and the People did not seek a substantially different discipline. Therefore, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge imposed the same discipline as imposed by the Supreme Court of Oregon, pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.21(e).
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