KY. SUPREME COURT AND KBA BOARD AGAIN SLAP HAND OF BAR COUNSEL’S OFFICE FOR EXCESSIVE PROSECUTIONS…
Nov. 26, 2012
Once again the Kentucky Supreme Court has sent a message to the Bar Counsel’s Office that they are excessively prosecuting attorneys. In the Fred Green case handed down on Nov. 2012 and cited below, the Bar Counsel cited the attorney, Fred G. Green on nineteen counts and recommended a sanction of a five year suspension. The Board of Governors dismissed seventeen of the nineteen complaints, and the Supreme Court upheld the Board’s slap on the Bar Counsel.
That recommendation stands in stark contrast to Bar Counsel’s position that Respondent was guilty of all nineteen counts, and deserved a five year suspension. The Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of l7 counts and imposed only a 30 day suspension.
“Based upon our review of the record, the arguments of the parties, and the applicable ethical rules, for the reasons discussed below, we agree with the Board’s findings, adopt their recommendations in full, and reject Bar Counsel’s arguments in objection to the Board’s decision, with the exception of the recommended punishment for Respondent’s violations.”
Last year the Supreme Court likewise refused to adopt recommendations of the Bar Counsel’s office against Eric Deters, and his sanction was substantially reduced by the Supreme Court.
In Sept. the Supreme Court in a ruling sent a blunt message to the KBA and Bar Counsel’s office. The decision basically sent the warning that “We have the right to examine all of your files and records.”
The call for extensive reforms of the attorney discipline process have been called on by several sources, and these recent rulings of the Supreme Court are beginning to demonstrate that the Ky. Supreme Court is not going to give the Bar Counsel and the KBA a blank check anymore.
LawReader Synopsis of recent Green case:
Click to read full text 2012-SC-000148-KB.PDF
TO BE PUBLISHED
KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION MOVANT
V. IN SUPREME COURT
FRED G. GREENE RESPONDENT
OPINION AND ORDER
This consolidated proceeding involves nineteen counts of alleged misconduct by Respondent involving four KBA files.
Of the nineteen charges of misconduct, the Board found him not guilty of seventeen;
Respondent was guilty of violating SCR 3.130-1.5(a) 2 (charging an unreasonable fe) and SCR 3.130-1.15(a) (commingling of fees) in regards to a probate matter involving the Curtis Binkley estate, and recommended that he receive a forty-five-day suspension, probated for two years contingent upon completing additional CLE credits, for the first violation and a private admonition as punishment for the second violation.
That recommendation stands in stark contrast to Bar Counsel’s position that Respondent is guilty of all nineteen counts, and deserves a five year suspension.
Based upon our review of the record, the arguments of the parties, and the applicable ethical rules, for the reasons discussed below, we agree with the
Board’s findings, adopt their recommendations in full, and reject Bar Counsel’s arguments in objection to the Board’s decision, with the exception of the recommended punishment for Respondent’s violations.
In lieu of the punishment recommended by the Board, we instead impose a thirty-day suspension for Respondent’s violation of SCR 3.130-1.5(a), without probation, and instead of the Board’s recommendation of a private reprimand for his violation of SCR 3.130-1.15(a), we determine that a public reprimand is the appropriate disciplinary measure.
As further discussed below, upon review of each of the relevant Inquiry Commission files, we adopt the findings and disciplinary recommendations of the Board, and reject the Bar Counsel’s arguments in opposition to this disposition.
Minton, C.J., Abramson, Cunningham,
Noble, Scott and Venters, JJ.,
concur. Schroder, J., not sitting.