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TCL > June 2007 Issue > Disciplinary Case Summaries

The Colorado Lawyer
June 2007
Vol. 36, No. 6 [Page  105]

© 2007 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association. All Rights Reserved.

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From the Courts
Colorado Disciplinary Cases

Disciplinary Case Summaries

These summaries of disciplinary case Opinions and summaries of Conditional Admissions of Misconduct 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 disciplinary 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 Decisions Issued by the PDJ

No. 06PDJ019 (consolidated with 06PDJ043). People v. Engler. 02/26/2007. Attorney Disbarred.

Following a sanctions hearing, the PDJ disbarred Douglas Scott Engler, attorney registration number 15972, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective March 29, 2007. Respondent was immediately suspended on December 21, 2005.

Respondent knowingly converted settlement proceeds belonging to one client, and engaged in several additional instances of misconduct with other clients. Respondent also failed to participate or present any mitigating evidence in these proceedings. The facts admitted by default proved violations of C.R.C.P. 251.5(d); Colo. RPC 1.3; Colo. RPC 1.4(a); Colo. RPC 1.4(b); Colo. RPC 1.16(d); Colo. RPC 3.4(c); Colo. RPC 8.1(b); Colo. RPC 8.4(c); and Colo. RPC 8.4(h). Accordingly, the PDJ found no adequate basis to depart from the presumptive sanction of disbarment. p.107.

No. 06PDJ072. People v. Tuthill. 03/14/2007. Attorney Suspended.

Following a sanctions hearing, the PDJ suspended Timothy Jensen Tuthill, attorney registration number 19014, from the practice of law for a period of two years. Suspension was effective April 14, 2007. Respondent has been suspended since July 8, 2004 in another matter.

Respondent was convicted in two separate criminal matters: (1) felony possession of a controlled substance, and (2) driving under the influence of drugs. Respondent also failed to participate or present any mitigating evidence in these proceedings. The facts admitted by default proved violations of C.R.C.P. 251.5(b); C.R.C.P. 251.20(b); and Colo. RPC 8.4(b). Accordingly, the PDJ found no adequate basis to depart from the presumptive sanction of a lengthy suspension. p.109.

No. 06PDJ006. People v. Wehrle. 03/20/2007. Attorney Disbarred.

Following a sanctions hearing, a Hearing Board disbarred Richard Tell Wehrle, attorney registration number 03369, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective April 20, 2007. Respondent was immediately suspended on May 8, 2006.

Respondent, the personal representative of an estate, directly and indirectly deposited $515,285 into his personal account from an estate’s account, without authority or explanation. Respondent also failed to participate or present any mitigating evidence in these proceedings. The facts found by the PDJ in summary judgment proceedings proved a violation of Colo. RPC 8.4(c). Accordingly, the Hearing Board found no adequate basis to depart from the presumptive sanction of disbarment. p.111.


Summaries of Decisions Regarding
Conditional Admission of Misconduct Issued by the PDJ

The PDJ’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 also are 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.

No. 07PDJ020. People v. Aplin. 04/10/2007. Attorney Suspension Stayed—Two-Year Probation With Conditions.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Michael J. Aplin, attorney registration number 36001, from the practice of law for a period of thirty days. The suspension was stayed based on the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. Sanction was effective May 11, 2007.

On May 17, 2006, after several heated discussions with his wife regarding her desire to separate, respondent agreed to pack some belongings and move out of their home. Later that day, police responded to respondent’s home twice, the second time finding broken glass, broken picture frames, and two cut-up chairs.

On July 11, 2006, respondent pled guilty to one count of Criminal Mischief, a Class 3 misdemeanor. He was sentenced to one year of supervised probation, domestic violence counseling, and 180 days of jail. All sentences were stayed. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5(b), and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b) and Colo. RPC 8.4(h).

No. 06PDJ065. People v. McKendree. 03/23/2007. Attorney Suspended for Three Years.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended John W. McKendree, attorney registration number 01209, from the practice of law for a period of three years. Suspension was effective March 23, 2007. Respondent was immediately suspended from the practice of law on August 28, 2006.

In 2005, respondent delegated management of his trust and office accounts to his office assistant, a known convicted felon, and failed to provide oversight on the management of these accounts. As a result, he technically converted funds and caused potential injury in more than one client matter.

In mitigation, however, respondent has never been disciplined in forty-two years of practicing law. 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); Colo. RPC 5.3(a); Colo. RPC 5.3(b); and Colo. RPC 8.4(c).

No. 06PDJ071. People v. Randolph. 04/17/2007. Attorney Suspended for Six Months—Thirty Days of Suspension Not Stayed—Two-Year Probation With Conditions.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended James C. Randolph, attorney registration number 28084, from the practice of law for a period of six months. All but thirty days of the suspension were stayed, based on the successful completion of a two-year period of probation. Sanction was effective May 18, 2007.

During administrative suspension from the practice of law, respondent filed a motion seeking a temporary restraining order on behalf of a client. He withdrew from the matter shortly thereafter and later assisted his client with finding substitute counsel. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5(b) and violated Colo. RPC 5.5(a) and Colo. RPC 3.4(c).

No. 07PDJ018. People v. Sledge. 04/17/2007. Attorney Disbarred.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and disbarred Frank D. Sledge, attorney registration number 23395, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective April 17, 2007. Respondent had been immediately suspended on March 26, 2007.

Respondent knowingly submitted false expense reports and engaged in improper billing practices on multiple occasions over several years as a shareholder with his previous law firm. Since February 2007, respondent has taken full responsibility for his actions. He has offered unconditional cooperation in the investigation of this matter. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5(b) and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c).

No. 06PDJ105. People v. Tyler. 4/11/2007. Attorney Suspended for Five Months.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended David George Tyler, attorney registration number 05947, from the practice of law for five months, subject to conditions. Suspension was effective May 11, 2007.

Respondent incorrectly believed that it was acceptable to deposit monies directly into his operating account. He approved his secretary/paralegal to deposit unearned client funds directly into his operating account. As a result, the retainer funds of six clients were placed into respondent’s office account and not into his COLTAF account, as required by the rules.

Respondent also engaged in additional misconduct in each of these client matters. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5(b) and violated Colo. RPC 1.3; Colo. RPC 1.4(a); Colo. RPC 1.15(a); Colo. RPC 5.3; and Colo. RPC 8.4(d)

© 2007 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=2007.


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