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TCL > March 2009 Issue > Disciplinary Case Summaries

The Colorado Lawyer
March 2009
Vol. 38, No. 3 [Page  125]

© 2009 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association. All Rights Reserved.

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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, when published by the PDJ, 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.®


Summaries of Decisions Issued by the PDJ

No. 08PDJ036. Hugen v. People. 12/17/2008. Attorney Readmitted to Practice Law.

Following a Readmission Hearing, a hearing board granted a Petition for Readmission filed by Brian Keith Hugen and readmitted him to the practice of law. The Colorado Supreme Court previously disbarred petitioner on February 16, 1999, after he knowingly misappropriated funds of various clients without their knowledge or consent; falsified bank records supplied to the People; continued to practice law while under suspension without informing his law partner, his clients, opposing parties, or the court; and failed to keep a client informed about the status of her case and neglected the case.

At the Readmission Hearing, petitioner provided substantial evidence that demonstrated his fitness to practice law, as well as an overwhelming change in his character since the time of his original discipline. The hearing board concluded that petitioner met his burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence. p.127.

No. 07PDJ015. People v. Rosen. 11/21/2007. Six-Month Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Successful Completion of Probation.

Following a hearing pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.18, a hearing board suspended Daniel R. Rosen, attorney registration number 27000, from the practice of law for six months. The six-month suspension was stayed pending the successful completion of six months of probation, with conditions.

The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the hearing board’s sanction on December 15, 2008. In an attempt to settle an injury claim for his client, respondent failed to advise an insurance company of his client’s death. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(c) and 4.1(a). p.131.


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. 02PDJ100 (consolidated with Nos. 02PDJ101, 02PDJ109, 03PDJ004, 03PDJ042, 03PDJ105, 04PDJ037, 04PDJ072, 05PDJ012, and 05PDJ045). People v. Bass. 01/21/2009. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Betty Ann Bass, attorney registration number 16489, from the practice of law for one year and one day, all stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The sanction was effective January 21, 2009.

Respondent represented several indigent, in-custody criminal defendants in post-conviction relief and/or appellate matters as alternate defense counsel. In each of the cases at issue, she neglected client matters and/or failed to adequately communicate with her clients. In some of the cases at issue, she overcharged the Office of Alternate Defense Counsel for work that had not been completed, padded her fees, failed to return client files, and engaged in other acts of misconduct. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5(a), 1.16(a)(3), 1.16(d), 3.2, 3.3(a)(1), 8.1(a), 8.4(c), and 8.4(d).

No. 09PDJ001. People v. Dietz. 01/20/2009. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended John Ford Dietz, attorney registration number 24360, from the practice of law for one year and one day, all stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The sanction was effective February 20, 2009.

From 2002 through 2006, respondent represented to the Office of Attorney Registration that he was "not under any court order" to provide child support. In January 2007, respondent represented to the Office Attorney Registration that he was "in compliance" with court-ordered child support, which contradicted his earlier statements. A Mexican court had previously entered a child support order, to which respondent believed he had a number of defenses. Nevertheless, respondent acknowledged that he should have been more prudent and cautious by seeking and following qualified legal advice regarding the issue before indicating that he was under an applicable order to pay child support. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 3.3(a)(1) and 8.4(c).

No. 08PDJ006. People v. Hicks. 01/21/2009. Attorney Suspended One Year and One Day.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Timothy Cameron Hicks, attorney registration number 21880, from the practice of law for one year and one day, effective January 21, 2009. Respondent knowingly neglected six client matters, failed to communicate with two of his clients, misrepresented the status of a matter to another client, and knowingly failed to comply with court orders. 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, 3.4(c), 8.4(c), and 8.4(d).

No. 08PDJ106. People v. Hooker. 01/08/2009. Attorney Suspended One Year and One Day—Six Months and One Day Stayed Pending Successful Completion of Two-Year Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Daynel L. Hooker, Wisconsin attorney registration number 1033854, from the practice of law in Colorado for one year and one day. Six months and one day were stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation. The sanction was effective February 8, 2009.

Respondent, an out-of-state attorney practicing law in Colorado, failed to send trust account refund checks for unearned fees to at least four clients who chose to continue their representation with respondent’s former associate. She also recklessly wrote checks from her trust account without sufficient funds to cover them. Her misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 220(3), Colo. RPC 8.5, and C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.15(a), 1.15(c), and 8.4(c).

No. 09PDJ004. People v. Todd. 01/21/2009. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Successful Completion of Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Curt Todd, attorney registration number 14332, from the practice of law for sixty days, all stayed pending the successful completion of a period of probation terminating on September 28, 2009. The sanction was effective January 21, 2009.

On January 7, 2007, respondent became angry with his 6-year-old daughter and struck her on the bottom three times. He struck her with his open hand. This incident was witnessed in part by his 10-year-old daughter. Respondent was arrested on January 9, 2007, and charged with committing child abuse, in violation of CRS § 18-6-401, a class 1 misdemeanor. Respondent immediately admitted to substantially all of the alleged conduct and voluntarily began mental health treatment within several weeks. Respondent entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to two years’ supervised probation, parenting classes, and court costs of approximately $1,341. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b).

© 2009 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=2009.


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