ACTION ALERT: Support the Bar Ethics Grievance Filed Against Sen. Vitter

The Louisiana State Bar Association has finally received an ethics complaint regarding the allegations, many of which he has admitted, that Sen. David Vitter engaged in multiple instances of adulterous and criminal conduct.  Charlie Melancon, who is challenging Sen. Vitter in Louisiana’s 2010 U.S. Senate race, notes his frustration with the lack of accountability Sen. Vitter has faced to date for this conduct as well as the hope that the complaint will force at least a minimal level of accountability:

…[W]hat David Vitter confessed to wasn’t just a “serious sin,” it was likely a crime. And so far Vitter hasn’t been charged with anything. He’s still got his law license. He’s still a U.S. Senator.

A man’s sin is his own, and with this complaint Vitter may finally have to answer for his actions. Louisiana Politics: CREW, Vitter, Melancon, Jindal, Stephen Sabludowsky, September 30, 2009.

The complaint (with exhibits) was filed by Melanie Sloan, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), and charges that:

…Louisiana Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(b) provides it is professional conduct for a lawyer to “commit a criminal act especially one that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.”  By his own admission, Sen. Vitter solicited for prostitution in the District of Columbia – apparently on numerous violations – and the evidence strongly suggests he had a pattern of committing the same violations in Louisiana.  Because soliciting prostitutes is a crime, Sen. Vitter clearly violated Rule 8.4(b).  Sen. Vitter’s conduct is all the more egregious because he is an elected official, who has sworn an oath to uphold the law of the United States.

In the CREW press release, Ms. Sloan notes the preferential treatment Sen. Vitter has received so far in response to his admission of multiple criminal acts, especially when compared to the prostitutes employed by the same ‘madam’ from whom Sen. Vitter solicited prostitutes:

13 former prostitutes were forced to testify at the trial of the DC Madam, who committed suicide shortly after her conviction. Sloan noted that one, a former Navy supply officer and Naval Academy instructor, lost her job because the Navy requires those who serve “to adhere to a standard of conduct that reflects the Navy’s values of honor, courage and commitment.” Sloan said, “It is a shame the Senate has no such standard of conduct. It will be interesting to see what sort of standard the Louisiana Disciplinary Board chooses to apply.” [Emphasis supplied.]

It will, indeed, be interesting to see what standards the Disciplinary Counsel will choose to apply to the investigation of this complaint.  In the meantime, it is interesting to review and understand the standards that the Disciplinary Counsel is mandated to apply:

The disciplinary counsel shall evaluate all information coming to his or her attention by complaint or from other sources alleging lawyer misconduct or incapacity. If the lawyer is not subject to the jurisdiction of the court, the matter shall be referred to the appropriate entity in any jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted. If the information, if true, would not constitute misconduct or incapacity, the matter shall be dismissed. If the lawyer is subject to the jurisdiction of the court and the information alleges facts which, if true, would constitute misconduct or incapacity, counsel shall conduct an investigation unless in the discretion of disciplinary counsel the matter qualifies for referral to the Practice Assistance and Improvement Program.  [Emphasis supplied.]  Section 11, Procedure for Disciplinary Proceedings, ¶A, Screening, Louisiana Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement.

It is also critical to understand that, in addition to any legal and fact-based defenses that may be available to him, Sen. Vitter will continue to argue – loudly – that this complaint is just another example of political gamesmanship and that it should be summarily dismissed as such.  Accordingly, this complaint is as likely, if not more likely, to be Roach Moteled – that is, it’s checked in to the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel but is never checked out – than it is to receive the proper attention and legitimate investigation it deserves.

Help this complaint get the attention it deserves by contacting the LADB, Office of Disciplinary Counsel and LSBA to respectfully demand that the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel fully comply with the Louisiana Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement:

The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board
2800 Veterans Memorial Boulevard, Suite 310
Metairie, LA 70002
Tel: (504) 834-1488 or (800) 489-8411
Fax: (504) 834-1449
Email: ladb@ladb.org

Office of the Disciplinary Counsel
4000 S. Sherwood Forest Boulevard, Suite 607
Baton Rouge, LA 70816
Tel: (225) 293-3900 or (800) 326-8022
Fax: (225) 293-3300

The Louisiana State Bar Association
Kim H. Boyle, President
365 Canal Street, Suite 2000
New Orleans, LA 70130-6534
Tel: (504) 566-1311
Direct line: (504) 679-5790
Fax: (504) 568-9130
Email: boylek@phelps.com

In what (I hope) is an encouraging sign that this investigation is, in fact, being taken seriously, the Louisiana Supreme Court visited my posts regarding the status of Sen. Vitter’s membership in the Louisiana State Bar Association the day after the complaint was filed.

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Sen. Vitter, why DID you lose your license to practice law?

Update on 03-30-09: Senator Vitter is an inactive member of the LSBA.

As I wrote last week, I began researching whether Senator David Vitter’s adulterous and criminal conduct violated the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct. A check of the Louisiana State Bar Association Membership Directory Active Member Search and Martindale.com, however, yielded no results for Senator David Bruce Vitter. I was able to confirm, from publicly-available sources, that Sen. Vitter had received his law degree from Tulane University, had been admitted to the Louisiana State Bar Association and had actually practiced law. Additional research by Oxdown Gazette readers dmac and cinnamonape yielded nothing regarding how Senator Vitter lost his license to practice law although cinnamonape found this 2001 press release from Southeastern Louisiana University which confirms that “[w]hile serving in the state legislature, Vitter was a business attorney as well as an adjunct law professor at Tulane and Loyola Universities. He is a graduate of the Tulane University School of Law….” [my emphasis]

I also requested information from Senator Vitter – via his webmail service – confirming whether he is “licensed to practice law in any jurisdiction and whether [he is] a member of any bar association.” Although someone from Senator Vitter’s office has visited The Grievance Project several times since I sent my webmail:

156.33.35.41 (U.S. Senate Sergeant At Arms)
District Of Columbia, Washington, United States
March 17th 2009 03:45:33 PM
grievanceproject.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/is-sen-david-vitter-licensed-to-practice-law/

156.33.35.50 (U.S. Senate Sergeant At Arms)
District Of Columbia, Washington, United States
March 17th 2009 03:43:04 PM
grievanceproject.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/is-sen-david-vitter-licensed-to-practice-law/

156.33.35.86 (U.S. Senate Sergeant At Arms)
District Of Columbia, Washington, United States
March 17th 2009 03:30:09 PM
grievanceproject.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/is-sen-david-vitter-licensed-to-practice-law/

156.33.35.45 (U.S. Senate Sergeant At Arms)
District Of Columbia, Washington, United States
March 17th 2009 03:17:51 PM
grievanceproject.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/is-sen-david-vitter-licensed-to-practice-law/
March 17th 2009 03:18:10 PM
grievanceproject.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/is-sen-david-vitter-licensed-to-practice-law/

156.33.35.28 (U.S. Senate Sergeant At Arms)
District Of Columbia, Washington, United States
March 18th 2009 04:52:51 PM
grievanceproject.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/is-sen-david-vitter-licensed-to-practice-law/

I have yet to receive a response to my initial inquiry. Accordingly, I have sent this followup webmail to Senator Vitter:

Senator Vitter,

Because I could find no bar association in which you are admitted, I requested last week – via your webmail service – that you identify each bar association in which you are admitted to practice law. To date, I have not received a reply to my request.

It is now clear that you graduated with a law degree from Tulane University, that you were admitted to the Louisiana bar association and that you then practiced law in Louisiana. [1] It is also clear that you are no longer licensed to practice law in nearly every state, including Louisiana. [2] Additional research conducted both by myself and other readers of my post has failed both to provide any evidence to confirm that you are currently admitted to practice law as well as to yield any information that explains why you are no longer licensed to practice law. As a result, what is not clear is why you are no longer admitted to the Louisiana State Bar Association .

Accordingly, I am sending this second correspondence to again request you to identify each bar association to which you have ever been admitted. Please also include both the date(s) on which you were admitted as well as the date(s) on which any license to practice law was lost or revoked. Please also identify the conduct in which you engaged (or were alleged to have engaged) that resulted in the loss or revocation of any license(s) to practice law that you have previously held. In short, please explain why you are no longer admitted to practice law and the circumstances that led to the loss of your license(s) to practice law.

I look forward to your reply.

E.M.

[1] According to SourceWatch , Senator Vitter “was born May 3, 1961 in New Orleans, … educated at Harvard University, Oxford University (and was a Rhodes Scholar), and Tulane University, and was a lawyer and member of the Louisiana House of Representatives before entering the House.” [my emphasis] See: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=David_Vitter .

According to Wikipedia, you were “a lawyer and a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1992 to 1999, when [you] entered the U.S. House.” [my emphasis] See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Vitter

From this press release from Southeastern Louisiana University announcing then-U.S. Representative Vitter as the keynote speaker at SLU’s 2001 commencement program: “While serving in the state legislature, Vitter was a business attorney as well as an adjunct law professor at Tulane and Loyola Universities. He is a graduate of the Tulane University School of Law and Harvard University and earned a history and economics degree with highest honors from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. [my emphasis] See: http://www2.selu.edu/NewsEvents/PublicInfoOffice/vitter-sp01commencement.htm

According to the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, Senator Vitter received his law degree from Tulane University School of Law in 1988. See: http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=V000127

[2] See: http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=V000127

and

http://vitter.senate.gov/

Crossposted at Oxdown Gazette.

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Is Sen. David Vitter licensed to practice law?

Update on 03-30-09: Senator Vitter is an inactive member of the LSBA.

Because Senator David Vitter (R-LA) keeps showing up like a bad penny, I decided to research whether his various criminal activities violated any professional conduct rules of any bar associations to which he might be admitted. I first checked the Louisiana State Bar Association Membership Directory Active Member Search but the search yielded the following result: No matches have been found! I then searched Martindale.com for Sen. Vitter and, again, the search provided no result.

I thought at this point that Senator Vitter may not be an attorney, but according to SourceWatch [emphasis supplied]:

[Sen. Vitter] was born May 3, 1961 in New Orleans, was educated at Harvard University, Oxford University (and was a Rhodes Scholar), and Tulane University, and was a lawyer and member of the Louisiana House of Representatives before entering the House.

Sen. Vitter’s Wikipedia entry also states that he “was a lawyer and a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1992 to 1999, when he entered the U.S. House.” [emphasis supplied.] However, Sen. Vitter’s Senate website biography page does not mention his Tulane University law degree or any prior work experience as an attorney. Further research has failed to confirm the Senator’s admission to any bar association in the United States.*

Via his webmail service, I have asked Sen. Vitter to confirm which, if any, bar associations he is now, or has ever been, a member:

Sen. Vitter,

I have read in several places that you went to Tulane law school and worked as an attorney. However, I have been unable to confirm that you are licensed to practice law or that you are admitted to any state or the DC bars. Please advise if you are licensed to practice law in any jurisdiction and whether you’re a member of any bar association.

Thank you,
E.M.

I’ll update this post if I receive a response from Sen. Vitter. In the meantime, if you have any information about whether Sen. Vitter is licensed to practice law and, if he is, the jurisdiction(s) in which he is admitted to practice, please contact me at:

  • grievanceproject AT gmail DOT com.

Thanks,

E.M./The Grievance Project

Crossposted at Oxdown Gazette.

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*I searched Martindale.com for Sen. Vitter but the search provided no result for the Senator.

I also searched the online directories for the following states plus Washington, D.C. (I have compiled the links to these online member directories – as well as all links for the state bar home pages and attorney grievance information, rules of professional conduct and grievance forms – for the 50 states and DC here.) Interestingly, instead of clicking a button to Search, Start Search or Find A Lawyer, I had to click the word ‘Execute’ to run an online attorney search in North Dakota. Following are the results returned for the searches I conducted:

Alabama Membership Directory: Your search found 0 matches.

Alaska Bar Association Membership Directory: [No result.]

State Bar of Arizona – Find a Lawyer: No Records Found
State Bar of Arizona – Member Finder: Search Results: 0 Attorney Found

Arkansas Licensed Attorney Search: 0 record(s)

California Attorney/Member Search: Your search for vitter returned no results.

Colorado Attorney Status and Disciplinary History: No matches found!
Colorado Attorney Disciplinary (only) History: No matches found!

Connecticut Attorney/Firm Inquiry: No Records Found for Attorney*/Firm Name: vitter

Delaware: No online search available.

Florida Find a Lawyer: Your search yielded no results. Please try again.

State Bar of Georgia Member Directory Search: 0 record(s)

Hawai’i: Authorized to Practice Law: [No result.]
Hawai’i: Not Authorized to Practice Law: [No result.]
Hawai’i: Not Authorized to Practice Law Except Pro Bono Cases: [No result.]
Hawai’i: Pro Hac Vice: [No result.]
Hawai’i: HSBA Member Directory: [No result.]

Idaho Attorney Roster Search: No records returned.

Illinois Lawyer Search: [No result.]

Indiana Supreme Court Roll of Attorneys: No Records Found

Iowa Judicial Branch Search for Lawyers Licensed in Iowa: No Records Exist

Kansas: No online search available.

Kentucky Lawyer Locator: Sorry, no records matched your criteria.

Louisiana State Bar Association Membership Directory Active Member Search: No matches have been found!

Maine Attorney Information Search: No records selected

Maryland Judiciary Attorney Listing: NO RECORDS MATCHED THE SEARCH CRITERIA

Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers Attorney Search by Name or City: [No result.]

State Bar of Michigan Member Directory: No members found.

Minnesota Lawyer Public Discipline Search: [No result.]
Minnesota Judicial Branch Lawyer Search: No records found…

Mississippi Attorney Directory: No results found.

Official Missouri Directory of Lawyers: No results found.

Montana: No online search available.

Nebraska Lawyer Search: Your search returned 0 results.

Nevada Find-A-Lawyer: No records returned.

New Hampshire Member Directory for HHBA members – Requires password: No search conducted.
New Hampshire Member Directory for the Public – Under construction: No search conducted.

New Jersey: No general member directory available
New Jersey: Disciplinary Histories from 1990 through last calendar year: [No result.]

State Bar of New Mexico Attorney/Firm_Finder: Your search has returned no results.

New York Attorney Search: Your search returned no results.

North Carolina State Bar Member Directory: Your search came back empty

North Dakota Lawyers Directory: No documents matched the query

Supreme Court of Ohio Attorney Information Search: 0 Attorneys Found

Oklahoma Bar Association Attorney Search: 0 Attorneys Found

Oregon State Bar Membership Directory: No match found

Pennsylvania Attorney Inquiry Search: 0 records found

Rhode Island Member Directory Search: There are no members with that information.

South Carolina Bar Member Directory: Sorry, there were no results.

South Dakota Lawyer Referral: [No result.]

Tennessee Bar Association Attorney Search: Sorry, no records found.
Online Attorney Directory of the Board of Professional Responsibility: No records were found matching your constraints.

Texas Member Directory: Your search has returned no result.

Utah State Bar Attorney & Associate Member Directory Service: [No result.]

Vermont: No online search available.

Virginia State Bar (Voluntary) Member Directory: Site temporarily down. No search conducted.
Virginia Attorneys Without Malpractice: No matches found.
Virginia State Bar Disciplined Attorneys : No matches found.

Washington State Bar Association (Voluntary) Lawyer Directory: Your search returned no results.

D.C. Bar Member Search: Records matching your search criteria: 0

West Virginia State Bar Association Member Search: [No result.]

State Bar of Wisconsin Lawyer Directory Search: Sorry, no attorney data matches your search …

Wyoming State Bar Membership Directory: Your search found no records.

E-mail to Alabama State Bar Office of Legal Counsel regarding unethical conduct of US Attorney Leura Garrett Canary

Tony McLain, General Counsel, Alabama State Bar
tony.mclain@alabar.org

Copies to:

Mr. Alex Lafayette Holtsford, Jr., President, Montgomery Bar Association
aholtsford@nixholtsford.com

Sam Partridge, Assistant General Counsel, Alabama State Bar
sam.partridge@alabar.org

Robert E. Lusk, Jr., Assistant General Counsel, Alabama State Bar
robert.lusk@alabar.org

Jeremy W. McIntire, Assistant General Counsel, Alabama State Bar
jeremy.mcintire@alabar.org

John Mark White, President, Alabama State Bar
mwhite@whitearnolddowd.com

Thomas James Methvin, President-Elect, Alabama State Bar
tom.methvin@beasleyallen.com

Pamela Harnest Bucy, Vice President, Alabama State Bar
pbucy@law.ua.edu

Keith Byrne Norman, Secretary, Alabama State Bar
keith.norman@alabar.org

Samuel Neil Crosby, Past President, Alabama State Bar
snc@sgclaw.com

Walter Edgar McGowan, Executive Council, Alabama State Bar
wem@glsmgn.com

Maibeth Jernigan Porter, Executive Council, Alabama State Bar
mporter@maynardcooper.com

Richard J. R. Raleigh, Jr., Executive Council, Alabama State Bar
rraleigh@wilmerlee.com

Hon. Leura Garrett Canary, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama
leura.canary@usdoj.gov

Dear Mr. McLain,

I have been researching the conduct of various attorneys in the service of the government of the United States, whether that conduct is a violation of the rules of professional conduct with which each such attorney must comply and authoring factual allegations of the conduct of these attorneys that establish violations of the applicable rules of professional responsibility, including Alberto Gonzales, Kyle Sampson, Harriet Miers, Lisa Murkowski, John Yoo, Mark Everett Fuller, Monica Marie Goodling, Thomas W. Hartmann, Michael J. Elston, Patrick J. Rogers and, now, United States Attorney Leura Garrett Canary. Her claimed recusal from the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman was and remains a sham and violates several of the rules of professional conduct of Alabama. These actions raise a substantial question as to her honesty, trustworthiness and fitness as a lawyer.

Mrs. Canary’s unethical conduct tarnishes the reputation of each member of the Alabama State Bar, including – if not especially – your own. Only a good faith investigation of Mrs. Canary by the Alabama State Bar Office of General Counsel and referral, if and when appropriate, to the Alabama State Bar Disciplinary Committee to answer for her violations of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct will undo the damage she has done to the legal profession in Alabama. If the reputations of the Department of Justice and the Alabama State Bar are ever to be salvaged, Mrs. Canary must be investigated by the Alabama State Bar Office of Legal Counsel and referred to the Alabama State Bar Disciplinary Committee to answer for her violations of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct.

Although not a formal complaint, the documentation of Ms. Canary’s conduct that I have prepared and included below* (and posted here at The Grievance Project and here at Firedoglake’s Oxdown Gazette) establish prima facie violations of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct. Pursuant to Rule 3(c) of the Alabama Rules of Disciplinary Procedure which permits you, as General Counsel, to initiate a disciplinary investigation or proceeding upon your “own motion in light of information received or acquired from any source[,]” it is incumbent on you to exercise your authority.

E.M./The Grievance Project

*I did not include the documentation in this post that I sent in the e-mail. It is posted here .

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Patrick J. Rogers – predictably and unbelievably – denies charges of Vote-Suppression

Crossposted at Oxdown Gazette.

Patrick J. Rogers is the New Mexico attorney who represents and advises the Republican Party of New Mexico on its voter suppression efforts. In this prior post , I documented how Mr. Rogers’ conduct in this matter violates the New Mexico Rules of Professional Conduct. Mr. Rogers “was too busy working on the election” to reply to a request for a statement from TPMMuckraker, so it’s no surprise he didn’t respond to my e-mail requesting a response to my allegations since I’m just an anonymous blogger. Notably, though, Mr. Rogers – or someone from his firm – did have time to stop by The Grievance Project:

VISITOR ANALYSIS
Referring Link No referring link
Host Name server.modrall.com
IP Address ***.**.**.178 [Label IP Address]
Country United States
Region –
City –
ISP One Connect Ip Inc
Returning Visits 0
Visit Length 0 seconds

But, as Heather Clark reported on October 29, 2008, Mr. Rogers did reply to the Associated Press:

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—An Albuquerque attorney who has been accused in a federal lawsuit of intimidating two voters in an attempt to interfere with their right to vote said Wednesday he has not violated any law.

Pat Rogers, who advises the state Republican Party, is accused of helping disseminate private information about two voters and hiring a private investigator, Al Romero, who allegedly went to their homes and confronted them about their eligibility to vote, the lawsuit said.

Rogers and Romero are named as defendants in the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque on Monday by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF.

“I have not violated any law and Mr. Romero has not violated any law,” Rogers told The Associated Press.

* * *

“The lawsuit contains serious accusations that have no basis in law or fact. The suit is filed and advertised before the upcoming election for obvious purposes,” Rogers said, declining to elaborate.

I, too, would proclaim my innocence if I was being investigated by the Department of Justice – even a Michael Mukasey-led DoJ – and that conduct resulted in my being named as a defendant in a federal lawsuit. Every day, criminal defendants – both guilty and innocent alike – make countless similar proclamations of innocence in criminal courts all over the globe. Like many of these defendants, Mr. Rogers’ denial of wrong-doing is simply not believable. If you agree, you can easily file a grievance against Mr. Rogers with the State Bar of New Mexico in three simple steps:

  1. Print, complete and sign the official Form for Complaint against a Lawyer in New Mexico;
  2. Print and attach this page to the Complaint Form as the factual basis for the claim; and
  3. Mail the complaint to the address noted on the Complaint Form.

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Web-mail to Sen. Theodore F. Stevens

Sen. Theodore F. Stevens
United States Senate
Contact via webmail

Sen. Stevens,

I have been researching the conduct of various attorneys such as yourself, whether that conduct is a violation of the rules of professional conduct with which each such attorney must comply and authoring factual allegations of the conduct that establish violations of the applicable rules of professional responsibility. Previously, I have written about the conduct of Alberto Gonzales, Kyle Sampson, Harriet Miers, Lisa Murkowski, John Yoo, Mark Everett Fuller, Monica Marie Goodling, Thomas W. Hartmann, Michael J. Elston and Patrick J. Rogers. I now add your name to this illustrious list. See my post here. I also crossposted at Firedoglake‘s Oxdown Gazette . Your conviction of seven (7) counts of felony making of a false statement raises a substantial question as to your honesty, trustworthiness and fitness to practice law.

My readers and I are interested in your response that your conduct violates your ethical obligations as a member of the Alaska Bar Association .

E.M./The Grievance Project

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Theodore F. Stevens

Crossposted at Oxdown Gazette.

Theodore F. Stevens, the United States Senator from Alaska was convicted of seven (7) felonies on October 27, 2008. His conviction violates the Alaska Rules of Professional Conduct. Although an inactive member of the Alaska Bar Association, Mr. Stevens remains subject to the obligations imposed by the Alaska Rules of Professional Conduct.

Although the state bar system requires that a formal complaint be filed to begin a formal investigation, anyone can file a grievance against Mr. Stevens. You don’t need to be a resident of Alaska or otherwise involved in this matter to file a grievance. Since a grievance can’t be filed online, I’ve simplified the process as much as possible so you can easily file a grievance against Mr. Stevens with the Alaska Bar Association in three simple steps:

  1. Print, complete and sign the official Attorney Grievance Form – Alaska Bar Association (.pdf);
  2. Print and attach this page to the Complaint Form as the factual basis for the claim; and
  3. Mail the complaint to the address noted on the Complaint Form.

Personal Information:

Name: Theodore F. Stevens
Bar: Alaska
ID No:
Status: Inactive

Grievance Information: Alaska

Allegation: Theodore F. Stevens has been convicted of seven (7) felonies.

On October 27, 2008, a jury of his peers unanimously entered a verdict finding Theodore F. Stevens guilty of was convicted of seven (7) counts of felony making false statements. Accordingly, Mr. Stevens is in violation of Rule 8.4. Misconduct , which provides that:

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:

(a) violate or attempt to violate the rules of professional conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;

(b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;

(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;

(d) state or imply an ability to improperly influence a government agency or official; or,

(e) knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct or other law. (SCO 1123 effective July 15, 1993)

ALASKA COMMENT

Paragraph (d) of the ABA Rules was omitted because it is too vague. See the ABA Legal Background Section. All improper conduct is already regulated under the other rules.

COMMENT

Many kinds of illegal conduct reflect adversely on fitness to practice law, such as offenses involving fraud and the offense of willful failure to file an income tax return. However, some kinds of offense carry no such implication. Traditionally, the distinction was drawn in terms of offenses involving “moral turpitude.” That concept can be construed to include offenses concerning some matters of personal morality, such as adultery and comparable offenses, that have no specific connection to fitness for the practice of law. Although a lawyer is personally answerable to the entire criminal law, a lawyer should be professionally answerable only for offenses that indicate lack of those characteristics relevant to law practice. Offenses involving violence, dishonesty, or breach of trust, or serious interference with the administration of justice are in that category. A pattern of repeated offenses, even ones of minor significance when considered separately, can indicate indifference to legal obligation.

A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law.

Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilities going beyond those of other citizens. A lawyer’s abuse of public office can suggest an inability to fulfill the professional role of attorney. The same is true of abuse of positions of private trust such as trustee, executor, administrator, guardian, agent and officer, director or manager of a corporation or other organization.

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