Vol. 37, No. 9
From the Courts
Colorado Disciplinary Cases
Disciplinary Case Summaries
The 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. 07PDJ045. People v. Sims. 06/19/2008. Attorney Disbarred.
Following a sanctions hearing, the PDJ disbarred respondent Karen Lee Sims, attorney registration number 19406, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective July 20, 2008. Respondent has been suspended since August 27, 2007.
On August 28, 2006, a California jury convicted respondent of first-degree murder, in violation of California Penal Code § 187(a), after she shot her husband ten times with a shotgun. The facts admitted by default proved violations of Colo. RPC 8.4(b) and C.R.C.P. 251.5(b). She also failed to present any mitigating evidence or otherwise participate in these proceedings in a meaningful manner. Accordingly, the PDJ found no adequate basis to depart from the presumptive sanction of disbarment.
Summaries 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. 08PDJ065. People v. DeBauche. 07/11/2008. Attorney Probation Extended.
The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and extended the probation of Brian DeBauche, attorney registration number 28593, for one year. Sanction was effective August 5, 2008.
Respondent knowingly delayed tendering settlement funds owed to two physicians in one client matter and delayed bankruptcy filings in two other client matters. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.3, 1.4(a), and 1.15(b).
No. 08PDJ015. People v. Ivker. 07/11/2008. Attorney Suspended for Two Years.
The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Richard Neil Ivker, attorney registration number 10950, from the practice of law for two years. Suspension was effective July 11, 2008. On August 31, 2004, the Massachusetts Supreme Court suspended respondent from the practice of law for two years, effective September 30, 2004.
Respondent advised a client on bail to flee the country rather than stay to face pending criminal charges. He also failed to fully investigate an error to a client’s sentence structure after receiving partial payment of a flat fee, and then failed to refund any portion of the fee before filing a civil action. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of reciprocal discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.21(d).
No. 08PDJ064. People v. Kusic. 07/11/2008. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Successful Completion of Probation.
The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended John B. Kusic, attorney registration number 04267, from the practice of law for sixty days, all stayed pending successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. Sanction was effective July 11, 2008.
Respondent recklessly neglected two client matters and negligently failed to maintain one of the client’s funds. The People also discovered that respondent failed to regularly reconcile his COLTAF and operating accounts, and failed to maintain appropriate records. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.3 and 1.15 (a), (b), (g), (h), and (j).
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