Vol. 43, No. 5
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 Reinstatement Order
No. 12PDJ049. Callaway v. People. 03/19/2014. Attorney Reinstated.
The PDJ approved a stipulation and agreement concerning reinstatement pursuant to CRCP 251.29(j) and reinstated Fredrick M. Callaway, attorney registration number 10156, to the practice of law. The order was effective March 19, 2014. No opinion was issued.
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. 14PDJ023. People v. Johnson. 03/17/2014. Attorney Suspended.
The PDJ approved the parties’ conditional admission of misconduct and suspended Christian Lee Johnson, attorney registration number 41286, for thirty days, all stayed pending the completion of a two-year period of probation with conditions. The probation took effect March 17, 2014.
Johnson began practicing with a partner in 2011, but his partner dissolved the partnership in 2012 after discovering that Johnson had been making unauthorized charges to the firm’s credit card, which was tied to the firm’s operating account. Johnson continued to hold himself out as practicing under the partnership.
In mid-2012, Johnson was retained in a dissolution and custody matter. He failed to file certain documents in the case, yet billed the client for working on the documents. Later that year, he informed his client that a family emergency would keep him out of state for a couple of months. Johnson volunteered to see whether his "partner" would take over the case, not explaining that the partnership had been dissolved. Then, he simply left the client’s file at his former partner’s office without securing that attorney’s agreement to represent the client. As a result, no work was performed on the client’s behalf for approximately two months. Johnson also delayed in complying with the client’s request that he provide an accounting and withdraw from the case.
Johnson’s misconduct violated several Rules of Professional Conduct. He violated Colo. RPC 1.3 (diligence); 1.4(a)(3) (a lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter); 1.4(a)(4) (a lawyer shall promptly comply with reasonable requests for information); 1.15(c) (a lawyer shall keep disputed property separate until an accounting is performed); 1.16(a)(3) (a lawyer shall withdraw if the lawyer is discharged); 7.5(d) (a lawyer may state that he or she practices in a partnership only when that is the fact); and 8.4(c) (dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation).
No. 14PDJ014. People v. Laylock. 02/20/2014. Attorney Suspended.
The PDJ approved the parties’ conditional admission of misconduct and suspended Tricia Marie Laylock, attorney registration number 42273, for sixty days, with the requirement of reinstatement pursuant to CRCP 251.29(c)–(e), all stayed pending the completion of a three-year period of probation with conditions. The probation took effect February 20, 2014.
On August 25, 2012, Laylock was arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and reckless endangerment. She pleaded guilty to these charges. She was arrested again on December 7, 2012, for DUI–drugs, failure to provide proof of insurance, careless driving, and failure to report an accident. Laylock pleaded guilty to DUI and self-reported this conviction.
On May 27, 2013, Laylock was arrested and charged with DUI–drugs, child abuse, reckless endangerment, and careless driving. She pleaded guilty to DUI and reckless endangerment. She also self-reported this conviction.
In June 2013, Laylock voluntarily entered a ninety-day residential treatment facility. She successfully completed this program on September 1, 2013. Eight days later, she entered an intensive outpatient program, which she also successfully completed. In October 2013, Laylock was sentenced to one year in jail, suspended contingent on the completion of twenty-four months of probation and six months of in-home detention. She also was required to complete an after-care treatment program and 120 days of public service. Laylock’s misconduct violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b) (a lawyer is prohibited from committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects).
No. 14PDJ019. People v. Payne. 03/05/2014. Attorney Suspended.
The PDJ approved the parties’ conditional admission of misconduct and suspended Trevor Michael Payne, attorney registration number 43731, for six months. All but sixty days were stayed pending the successful completion of a three-year period of probation, with conditions. The suspension took effect April 9, 2014.
On December 13, 2012, Payne pleaded guilty to a class 3 misdemeanor for harassing his girlfriend. He was sentenced to probation for fifteen months with domestic violence counseling, monitored sobriety, and fines and costs. A mandatory protection order also was issued, prohibiting contact with his girlfriend. After Payne was found in a parked vehicle with his girlfriend, he pleaded guilty to attempting to violate the restraining order, a class 3 misdemeanor, and was sentenced to one year of probation with monitored sobriety, fines, and costs. Payne violated CRCP 251.5 and Colo. RPC 8.4(b) (committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects).
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