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TCL > February 2008 Issue > Disciplinary Case Summaries

The Colorado Lawyer
February 2008
Vol. 37, No. 2 [Page  101]

© 2008 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 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 page(s). The summaries and full-text Opinions also are accessible from the CBA website: www.cobar.org (click on "Opinions/Rules/Statutes"). Opinions, including exhibits, complaints, amended complaints, and summaries, also are available at the PDJ website, www.coloradosupremecourt.com/PDJ/pdj.htm, and on LexisNexis.®


Summary of Decision Issued by the PDJ

No. 06PDJ016. People v. Gilbert. 03/26/2007. Attorney Publicly Censured.

Following a hearing pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.18, a hearing board publicly censured Robert Edward Gilbert, attorney registration number 13603. Respondent, a magistrate, violated the Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct when he made four ex parte calls to a litigant and later failed to consider her request that he recuse himself from her case. However, the allegation that respondent passed a personal note to a litigant in open court was not proved by clear and convincing evidence.

Respondent is ordered to pay costs of the disciplinary proceedings. Respondent also is ordered to attend Ethics School within one year of the date of the order. p.103.


Summary of Decisions Regarding
Conditional Admissions of Misconduct Issued by the PDJ

The PDJ’s approval of a Conditional Admission 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 PDJ, 1560 Broadway, Ste. 675, Denver, CO 80202; (303) 866-6658; www.coloradosupremecourt.com/PDJ/pdj.htm. They also are available on LexisNexis.®

No. 07PDJ041. People v. Donaldson. 12/11/2007. Attorney Disbarred.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and disbarred James F. Donaldson, attorney registration number 08951, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective December 11, 2007.

Respondent knowingly converted from his aunt’s estate approximately $25,000 that should have been distributed to his cousin, and used the funds for his own pressing financial needs. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c) and 3.3(a).

No. 07PDJ029. People v. Feldman (Co-Respondent). 12/13/2007. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Alan Jay Feldman, attorney registration number 31737, from the practice of law for one year and one day, all but sixty days stayed. Sanction is effective February 15, 2008.

On October 1, 2003, respondent entered into a business transaction with his client without giving any written disclosures or advice to his client about possible and/or actual conflicts of interest. Respondent also had an attorney-client relationship with the company he formed with his client. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.8(a).

Nos. 07PDJ066 & 07PDJ073. People v. McGannon. 12/20/2007. Attorney Suspended for Two Years.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Terry Thomas McGannon, attorney registration number 15366, from the practice of law for two years. Suspension was effective December 20, 2007.

Respondent represented a client in a number of ongoing criminal matters. He caused the client emotional distress when he sent an inappropriate and threatening letter to this client in prison. On October 11, 2007, respondent pled guilty to a class 4 felony (possession of a schedule II controlled substance).

Respondent’s dependence on methamphetamines led to his misconduct in both of these cases, but he has since sought help for his addiction and has demonstrated his abstention to the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 4.5(a), 8.4(c), and 8.4(b).

No. 07PDJ063. People v. Thoms. 12/10/2007. Attorney Suspended for One Year and One Day.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended William E. Thoms, attorney registration number 25119, from the practice of law for one year and one day. Suspension was effective December 10, 2007.

While suspended from the practice of law, respondent provided legal representation to a client involved in a criminal investigation. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5(b), and violated Colo. RPC 3.4(c), 5.5(a), and 8.4(c).

No. 07PDJ077. People v. Tompkins. 12/10/2007. Six-Month Attorney Suspension Stayed—Two-Year Probation With Conditions.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Jeffrey Ira Tompkins, attorney registration number 01133, from the practice of law for six months, all stayed on the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. Sanction was effective December 10, 2007.

Respondent violated the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct when he obtained a promissory note secured by a deed of trust from his client without first obtaining his client’s consent to the conflict in writing and referring him to independent counsel prior to the transaction. Respondent subsequently initiated foreclosure proceedings and claimed a principal amount owed in excess of the amount actually owed by his client.

Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5(b). Respondent’s misconduct violated Colo. RPC 1.8(a) and 1.5(a). As a condition of his probation, respondent was ordered to reimburse his client the full amount of the overpayment.

No. 07PDJ029. People v. Wertz (Co-Respondent). 12/13/2007. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Jeffrey Larkin Wertz, attorney registration number 28000, from the practice of law for six months, all but thirty days stayed. Sanction was effective December 15, 2007.

On October 1, 2003, respondent entered into a business transaction with his client without giving written disclosures or advice to his client about possible and/or actual conflicts of interest. Respondent also had an attorney-client relationship with the company he formed with his client. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5 and violated Colo. RPC 1.8(a).

No. 07PDJ053. People v. Wingler. 11/21/2007. Attorney Suspended for One Year and One Day.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Daniel J. Wingler, attorney registration number 33478, from the practice of law for one year and one day. Suspension was effective November 21, 2007.

On July 12, 2007, respondent pled guilty to cultivation of marijuana, a class 4 felony, in violation of CRS § 18-18-406(8)(a)(I) as amended; and unlawful possession of more than one ounce but less than eight ounces of marijuana, a class I misdemeanor, in violation of CRS § 18-18-406(4)(a)(I). On November 8, 2007, respondent pled guilty to menacing, a class 3 misdemeanor, in violation of CRS § 18-18-206 as amended; and telephone harassment, a class 3 misdemeanor, in violation of CRS § 18-9-111 as amended. 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).

© 2008 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=2008.


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