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TCL > October 2009 Issue > Disciplinary Case Summaries

October 2009       Vol. 38, No. 10       Page  137
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. 08PDJ063 (consolidated with 08PDJ094). People v. Martin. 07/01/2009. Attorney Disbarred.

Following a default sanctions hearing pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5(b), the PDJ disbarred Timothy John Martin, attorney registration number 09083, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective August 1, 2009.

Respondent engaged in a pattern of misconduct in several patent and trademark matters, which included the knowing conversion of client property. The facts admitted by default proved multiple violations of Colo. RPC 1.1, 1.3, 1.4(a), 1.4(b), 1.16(a), and 8.4(c). Respondent failed to answer the complaints or otherwise participate in these proceedings and therefore failed to present any mitigating evidence. Accordingly, the PDJ found no adequate basis to depart from the presumptive sanction of disbarment.

No. 07PDJ067. People v. Maynard. 06/13/2008. Attorney Suspended Sixty Days.

Following a hearing pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.18, a hearing board suspended Alison Maynard, attorney registration number 25569, from the practice of law for one year and one day. All but sixty days of the suspension were stayed pending successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions.

The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the hearing board’s sanction on May 26, 2009, and denied a petition for rehearing on June 22, 2009. The sixty-day suspension therefore commenced on July 23, 2009.

Respondent failed to file a Supreme Court appellate brief with reasonable promptness. She knowingly made a materially false statement of fact with regard to the timeliness of the brief and certificate of mailing, and eventually filed a motion in opposition to a motion to dismiss her brief as untimely. Respondent admitted her misconduct before the Supreme Court took any action on the motion. Nevertheless, respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.3, 3.3(a)(1), and 8.4(c).

No. 07PDJ031. People v. Sweetman. 11/03/2008. Attorney Disbarred.

Following a hearing pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.18, a hearing board disbarred Debra Ann Sweetman, attorney registration number 15265, from the practice of law. Disbarment was effective December 4, 2008.

Respondent initially failed to participate in these proceedings and later filed an answer after the PDJ agreed to set aside a default judgment. She then stopped participating in these proceedings.

Respondent neglected client matters in four cases, failed to adequately communicate with clients, and knowingly converted funds belonging to clients. Her 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), 1.7(a), 1.16(d), and 8.4(c). Respondent failed to appear for her hearing and therefore failed to present any mitigating evidence. Accordingly, the hearing board 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. 08PDJ102. People v. Bigley. 08/19/2009. Attorney Suspended Three Months.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Michael F. Bigley, attorney registration number 39294, from the practice of law for three months, with the condition of reinstatement proceedings pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.29(c). The suspension was effective September 21, 2009.

On January 31, 2008, respondent pled guilty to the false imprisonment of his ex-wife—a misdemeanor domestic violence offense—following an incident on November 10, 2007. He thereafter entered into an eighteen-month deferred judgment agreement that required him to undergo an alcohol evaluation, alcohol treatment, alcohol monitoring, and domestic violence treatment, and to abstain from using alcohol. 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. 09PDJ055. People v. Cabral. 08/21/2009. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Two-Year Probation With Conditions.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Alfonso S. Cabral, attorney registration number 18328, from the practice of law for sixty days. The suspension was stayed pending successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The sanction was effective September 21, 2009.

In one client matter, respondent failed to adequately supervise his staff, which caused him to fail to appear at his client’s first court appearance and then fail to appear at his own contempt hearing. In a second client matter, respondent communicated with a party represented by counsel and failed to adequately supervise his staff when they communicated directly with the party. Respondent also failed to competently represent his client by misinterpreting a court order, which resulted in the filing of a frivolous motion for contempt against the opposing party. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.1, 3.1, 4.2, 5.3(a), 5.3(b), and 8.4(d).

No. 09PDJ066. People v. Enstad. 07/21/2009. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Two-Year Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Bruce Alfred Enstad, attorney registration number 21514, from the practice of law for sixty days. The suspension was stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation. The sanction was effective July 21, 2009.

Respondent represented a client as an attorney and as a conservator. He also charged an excessive hourly fee for his conservator duties. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.5 and 1.7(a)(2).

No. 09PDJ069. People v. Gray. 07/21/2009. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Two-Year Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Kenneth Holbrook Gray, attorney registration number 19054, from the practice of law for thirty days. The suspension was stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation. The sanction was effective July 21, 2009.

In one client matter, respondent failed to diligently represent his clients and failed to provide a written statement of the basis and/or rate of his fee at the outset of the representation or an accounting of the use of the retainer. In a second client matter, respondent placed a retainer fee in his operating account and failed to provide his client a written statement of the basis and/or rate of his fee or an accounting of the use of the retainer. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.3, 1.5(b), 1.15(a), and 1.15(c).

No. 09PDJ076. People v. Hale. 08/18/2009. Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending Two-Year Probation With Conditions.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Margaret T. Hale, attorney registration number 31406, from the practice of law for sixty days. The suspension was stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The sanction was effective August 18, 2009.

Respondent recklessly failed to adequately communicate to her client that she could not handle her client’s personal injury case to completion. Respondent also recklessly abused her client’s trust by surreptitiously using a blank medical release to secure her client’s confidential medical records. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.2(c) and 8.4(c).

No. 09PDJ068. People v. Hruby. 07/21/2009. Thirty-Day Attorney Suspension Stayed Pending One-Year Probation.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Jeffrey D. Hruby, attorney registration number 27101, from the practice of law for thirty days, all stayed pending the successful completion of a one-year period of probation. The sanction was effective July 21, 2009.

Respondent used his client’s funds before he had fully earned them. He also failed to clearly explain the basis or rate of his fee. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.5(b), 1.5(f), and 1.15(a).

No. 09PDJ071. People v. Kanwal. 07/21/2009. Attorney Suspended One Year and One Day With Conditions of Reinstatement.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Ravi Kanwal, attorney registration number 21197, from the practice of law for one year and one day, with conditions of reinstatement. The suspension was effective August 5, 2009.

Respondent represented clients in immigration matters despite the fact that he had not been in this country lawfully since December 30, 1995. Respondent failed to disclose his legal status and failed to disclose to his clients, the immigration courts, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and its predecessor agency that he did not have authorization for employment in the United States. 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 8.4(d).

No. 09PDJ060. People v. Shahmardian. 07/27/2009. Attorney Suspended One Year and One Day.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Shahryar S. Shahmardian, attorney registration number 24370, from the practice of law for one year and one day. The suspension was effective August 27, 2009.

Respondent knowingly continued to practice law while under administrative suspension for failure to complete CLE requirements. He represented twenty-four immigration clients during his suspension and made false statements with regard to his standing with the Colorado Supreme Court. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 3.3(a)(1), 5.5(a), and 8.4(c).

No. 09PDJ070. People v. West. 07/27/2009. Attorney Suspended Thirty Days.

The PDJ approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Carl Stuart West, attorney registration number 23435, from the practice of law for thirty days. The suspension was effective August 4, 2009.

Following the criminal sentencing of his client, respondent failed to properly account for and safeguard funds given to him by his client. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.15(a) and 1.15(b).

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