Vol. 42, No. 2
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. 12PDJ018. People v. Harper. 09/21/2012. Attorney Suspended.
The PDJ suspended David A. Harper, attorney registration number 15400, for ninety-one days, with the requirement of undergoing reinstatement proceedings. The suspension was effective December 13, 2012.
Harper violated Florida Rules of Professional Conduct 41.1 (a lawyer shall provide competent representation); 4-3.2 (a lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to expedite litigation); 4-3.3(a)(1) (a lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal); 4-8.2(a) (a lawyer shall not knowingly or recklessly make a false statement concerning a judge’s integrity); 4-8.4(c) (a lawyer shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation); 4-8.4(d) (a lawyer shall not engage in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice); and 4-3.4(c) (a lawyer shall not knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal). The Supreme Court of Florida suspended him for ninety-one days, with the requirement that he prove rehabilitation before recommencing the practice of law. Harper’s misconduct in the matter constituted grounds for the imposition of reciprocal discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.21(e).
No. 12PDJ053. People v. Romo Véjar. 11/05/2012. Attorney Privately Admonished.
In a reciprocal discipline matter, the PDJ privately admonished Jesús R. Romo Véjar, attorney registration number 17350, effective December 11, 2012. Pursuant to CRCP 251.6(d) and 251.31(i), the fact of the private admonition is public information, but the private admonition itself may not be published or otherwise disclosed.
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. 12PDJ041. People v. Benson. 12/11/2012. Attorney Suspended.
The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Samuel Russell Benson, attorney registration number 16303, for three years. The suspension was effective December 11, 2012, with the condition that he pay restitution.
Benson abandoned several of his clients, forcing them to engage new counsel or to proceed in their cases without counsel. In addition, he took possession of fees paid to him by two clients before he had earned those fees, and he then failed to return the fees after abandoning the clients’ cases. Finally, Benson refused to pay for interpreting services he had used. Benson’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 1.3; 1.4(a)(3) and (4); and 8.4(c) and (d).
No. 12PDJ089. People v. Huff. 12/18/2012. Attorney Suspended.
The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Robert A. Huff, attorney registration number 28478, for three years. The suspension was effective December 18, 2012.
On December 14, 2009, Huff was convicted of conspiracy to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana pursuant to 21 USC §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A) and 846, and 18 USC § 2. After serving an eighteen-month sentence in prison, he began serving a five-year term of supervised release in the fall of 2011. His criminal sentence reflected his qualification for a variety of mitigators, including cooperation with the government’s investigation and the provision of reliable testimony against other co-conspirators. Huff’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b).
No. 12PDJ083. People v. Leavenworth. 11/20/2012. Attorney Suspended.
The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Loyal E. Leavenworth, attorney registration number 06696, for sixty days, with the requirement of reinstatement pursuant to CRCP 251.29(c). The sanction was stayed pending successful completion of a three-year period of probation, with conditions, effective November 20, 2012.
On January 27, 2011, Leavenworth pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and was sentenced to two years of probation. He was released from probation in the spring of 2012. This was Leavenworth’s third conviction for an alcohol-related offense. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b).
No. 12PDJ073. People v. O’Leary. 12/03/2012. Attorney Suspended.
The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended Clive A. O’Leary, attorney registration number 03735, for one year. The suspension was effective December 3, 2012.
On March 12, 2012, O’Leary was suspended from the practice of law in Virginia for one year, with conditions. In two client matters, O’Leary failed to reasonably communicate with each of his clients, failed to deposit his clients’ unearned funds into his trust account, and was dishonest when asked by a bar investigator where he had deposited the clients’ funds. His misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of reciprocal discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5 and 251.21(a).
No. 11PDJ021. People v. Pavek. 11/26/2012. Attorney Disbarred.
The PDJ approved a conditional admission of misconduct submitted by the parties and disbarred David Donder Pavek, attorney registration number 16142. The disbarment was effective November 26, 2012.
Pavek used $217,417 belonging to the company of which he was CEO for non-business-related purposes. On May 24, 2012, he pleaded guilty to one count of theft of $1,000–$20,000, a class 4 felony. He was sentenced to six years in the Department of Corrections, with three years of parole. Pavek’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to CRCP 251.5, and violated Colo.RPC 8.4(b)and(c).
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