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TCL > June 2009 Issue > Disciplinary Case Summaries

The Colorado Lawyer
June 2009
Vol. 38, No. 6 [Page  141]

© 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.®


Summary of Decision Issued by the PDJ

No. 07PDJ056. People v. Alster. 03/12/2009. Ninety-Day Attorney Suspension.

Following a sanctions hearing, the PDJ suspended respondent Christopher Alster, attorney registration number 11884, from the practice of law for ninety days, with conditions of reinstatement. The suspension was effective April 13, 2009.

Respondent placed personal funds into a COLTAF account and thereafter used the account as a personal business account to hide personal assets from his creditors. The facts admitted by default proved violations of Colo. RPC 1.15(f)(1) and 8.4(c). Respondent also failed to present any mitigating evidence or otherwise participate in these proceedings. Accordingly, the PDJ found no adequate basis to depart from the presumptive sanction of a suspension. p.143.


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. 08PDJ097. People v. Curry. 03/27/2009. One-Year Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of Two-Year Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent Jill A. Curry, attorney registration number 36371, from the practice of law for one year, all stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The sanction was effective March 27, 2009.

Respondent pled guilty to (1) vehicular assault, in violation of CRS § 18-3-205(1)(b)(F4); and (2) assault in the third degree, in violation of CRS § 18-3-204(M1), following events that took place on January 19, 2008. The second charge was without any factual basis and was added as a result of plea negotiations.

On the first charge, a felony count, the district court imposed a fine of $2,000, and payment of fees and costs. On the misdemeanor count, the district court imposed a two-year period of probation, 200 hours of community service, and treatment for driving under the influence, as recommended by probation. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b) and C.R.C.P. 251.5(b).

No. 09PDJ026. People v. Montoya, Jr. 04/17/2009. Public Censure.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and publicly censured respondent Gilbert O. Montoya, Jr., attorney registration number 08079. The sanction was effective April 17, 2009.

Respondent negligently failed to terminate an attorney–client relationship when he learned that his wife was involved in a business transaction with his client. He effectively entered into a business transaction with his client without making appropriate disclosures. Respondent also failed to make reasonable efforts to ensure that his wife’s conduct was compatible with his professional obligations. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.16(a), 1.8(a), and 5.3(b).

No. 09PDJ023. People v. Ruh. 03/27/2009. Thirty-Day Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Completion of One-Year Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent Richard Palmer Ruh, attorney registration number 13107, from the practice of law for thirty days, all stayed pending the successful completion of a one-year period of probation with conditions. The sanction was effective March 27, 2009.

In one client matter, respondent failed to act with diligence when he failed to enter his appearance and failed to send a letter to opposing counsel advising her that he was entering his appearance in the case. He also negligently failed to deposit a retainer fee into his trust account and to timely bill his client as stated in his fee agreement.

In a second client matter, respondent failed to competently handle his client’s pending immigration case. 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(a), and 1.15(a).

© 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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