Are KBA discipline hearings quasi-criminal, quasi-civil or both or neither…Can anyone help us understand just what gender discipline hearings are?

Are KBA discipline hearings quasi-criminal, quasi-civil or both or neither?

We previously wrote about the Supreme Court ruling in KBA v. Robinson. We understand the simply words but we are not sure that we understand the meaning of how discipline hearings are different than criminal proceedings….sometimes they have been called quasi-criminal and quasi-civil in nature. As a practical matter how should the KBA and the defense bar apply this ruling? Can anyone help us with an explanation?

KENTUCKY SUPREME COURT WARNS BAR COUNSEL THAT DISCIPLINE PROCEEDINGS ARE NOT CRIMINAL TRIALS!!
Kentucky Bar Ass’n v. Robinson, 386 S.W.3d 739 (Ky., 2012)

These distinctions between the procedure provided by SCR 3.360(4) and SCR 3.480(2) are of vital importance. While KBA disciplinary proceedings are frequently treated as prosecutorial by the bar, they are not criminal proceedings.

Rather, they are civil disciplinary matters carried out by an agency of this Court.

Bar Counsel seems to conflate disciplinary proceedings with criminal plea bargains or guilty pleas, or civil settlement agreements, whereby the judge maintains a role throughout the negotiation process, including approval of the parties’ agreement.

We caution Bar Counsel not to conflate a Trial Commissioner with a trial court, nor Bar Counsel with a prosecutor. While there are some similarities, the rules indicate that neither is identical in function or authority

Leave a Comment:

*