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TCL > May 2013 Issue > Disciplinary Case Summaries

May 2013       Vol. 42, No. 5       Page  121
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. 12PDJ064. People v. Cochrane. 01/18/2013. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ suspended Susan Cochrane, attorney registration number 33077, for three years. The suspension was effective February 22, 2013.

In one client matter, Cochrane neglected the client’s case, failed to adequately communicate with her client, and converted part of a retainer. She failed to exercise reasonable diligence and converted funds in a second client matter. In addition, Cochrane ignored rules governing operation of her trust account and provided an inaccurate statement to disciplinary investigators. Her misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.1; 1.3; 1.4(a) and (b); 1.5(b); 1.15(a), (c), (i), and (j); 8.1(a); and 8.4(c) and (d). p.123.

No. 12PDJ081. People v. Sanchez. 03/01/2013. Attorney Reinstated.

The PDJ approved a stipulation and agreement concerning reinstatement of Gordon D. Sanchez, attorney registration number 12919, pursuant to CRCP 251.29(j). Sanchez was reinstated to the practice of law effective March 1, 2013. No opinion was issued.

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Summaries of Decisions Regarding
Conditional Admission 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. 13PDJ018. People v. Custis. 02/21/2013. Attorney Publicly Censured.

The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and publicly censured Dion James Custis, attorney registration number 23143. The sanction was effective February 21, 2013.

On November 7, 2012, Custis was publicly censured by the Wyoming Supreme Court for having engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. On behalf of his client, a criminal defendant, Custis offered money—which he described as future restitution—to the mother of a victim of child sexual assault, in exchange for her more favorable sentencing recommendation regarding his client. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of reciprocal discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5 and 251.21(a).

No. 12PDJ090. People v. Hanson. 03/07/2013. Attorney Disbarred.

The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and disbarred Scott Allen Hanson, attorney registration number 29873. Disbarment was effective March 7, 2013.

In 2008, Hanson was hired to represent a woman in her divorce proceedings. Hanson and his client received an order from the court informing them that the case would be dismissed unless Hanson set an initial conference with the court. Although Hanson assured his client that he had her case under control, he failed to set the initial conference and failed to respond to his client’s inquiries about her case. Hanson then sent his client a falsified copy of the decree for dissolution of her marriage. In 2012, his client sought to change her name, and she was told she would need an official copy of her divorce decree to do so. When she tried to obtain a copy of the decree from the court, she was informed that her divorce proceeding had been dismissed in 2008. Hanson’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of reciprocal discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.3; 1.4(a)(3); 8.1(d); and 8.4(c) and (d).

No. 13PDJ021. People v. Kusic. 02/25/2013. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended John Bernard Kusic, attorney registration number 04267, for sixty days. The entire suspension was stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation, with conditions. The sanction was effective February 25, 2013.

Kusic entered into a fee agreement with a client without explaining the basis of his fee. He also failed to place the client’s payments into a COLTAF account. Instead, he placed those payments into his operating account, using some of the funds to pay an interpreter or for his own benefit. Kusic’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.5(f) and 1.15(a) and (d)(1).

No. 13PDJ022. People v. Moore. 03/01/2013. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Roger Harned Moore, attorney registration number 19565, for ninety days. The entire suspension was stayed pending successful completion of a one-year period of probation, with conditions. The sanction was effective March 1, 2013.

On October 12, 2011, Moore was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation with a suspended jail sentence of 180 days. He also was ordered to complete an anger management program and 100 hours of public service for his conviction of Public Buildings—Impeding a Public Official, a class 2 misdemeanor offense pursuant to CRS § 18-9-110(2).

Moore timely reported his conviction to the Office of Attorney Regulation and completed all conditions of his unsupervised probation. However, when Moore applied for readmission to bar of the District of Columbia in 2009, his application for readmission contained omissions. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of reciprocal discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.1(b) and 8.4(b).

No. 12PDJ056. People v. Stevens. 02/27/2013. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved an amended conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Lisa Welch Stevens, attorney registration number 28936, for one year and one day, effective February 25, 2013. The entire suspension was stayed pending the successful completion of a two-year period of probation.

Stevens served discovery responses bearing electronic signatures of certain clients, even though those clients had not provided information to her in response to discovery requests and had not reviewed the responses she drafted. Later, Stevens filed with the court a response to a motion to compel and attached thereto the discovery responses, even though those responses contained false, non-contemporaneous electronic signatures of her clients. In so doing, Stevens made both a false statement of material fact and a misrepresentation to a court. Stevens also failed to abide by the duty of communication she owed to her clients. Her misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.4(a); 3.3(a)(1); and 8.4(c).

No. 13PDJ019. People v. Stutz. 03/05/2013. Attorney Publicly Censured.

The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and publicly censured R. Gregory Stutz, attorney registration number 03624. The sanction was effective March 5, 2013.

Stutz asked a client to loan him $10,000, without advising the client to seek independent legal advice regarding the loan or without obtaining the client’s written consent to the terms of the loan. Although the terms of the note were fair, Stutz failed to make payments according to the agreed timetable. Stutz’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.8(a).

No. 13PDJ023. People v. Tauger. 03/07/2013. Attorney Suspended.

The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Michael J. Tauger, attorney registration number 01902, for one year with conditions. The suspension was effective March 7, 2013.

Respondent’s license to practice law was suspended on July 23, 2011. Following his suspension, respondent failed to file an affidavit pursuant to CRCP 251.28(d) and continued to represent a client in a commercial lease dispute. During his suspension, respondent drafted and revised legal documents, offered legal advice to his client, and participated in conferences with debtors and potential purchasers and their agents. Respondent was paid $12,451.12 for his legal services. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.5(a); 3.4(c); and 5.5(a)(1) and (2).

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