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LR 83.28 Discipline of Attorneys for Misconduct

(a)   Complaint of Misconduct. Any complaint of misconduct shall be filed with the chief judge.  The complaint may be in the form of a letter. The chief judge shall refer it to the Executive  Committee for consideration and appropriate action.

(b)   Action by Executive Committee. On receipt of a complaint of misconduct, the Committee may forward a copy to the attorney and ask for a response within a time set by the Committee. Based on the complaint of misconduct and any response, the Committee may—

(1)   determine that the complaint merits no further action, or

      (2)   direct that formal disciplinary proceedings be commenced, or

(3)   take such other action as the Committee deems appropriate, including the assignment of an attorney pursuant to LR 83.29.

(c)   Statement of Charges; Service. To initiate formal disciplinary proceedings based on allegations of misconduct, the Executive Committee shall issue a statement of charges. In addition to setting forth the charges, the statement of charges shall include an order requiring the  attorney to show cause, within 14 days after service, why the attorney should not be disciplined.

Upon issuance of the statement of charges, the Clerk shall send the statement of charges by: (1) certified mail to the attorney’s last known address with return receipt requested; (2) shipping services (e.g., UPS/FedEx) with signature required; (3) CM/ECF; or (4) email. Any one of these methods is sufficient to provide notice under this rule. If the statement is returned as undeliverable, the Clerk shall so notify the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee may direct that further attempts at service be made, either personal service by a private process server or by the United States marshal, or by publication.Personal service shall  be accomplished in the manner provided by Fed.R.Civ.P. 5(b) for service other than by mail.

Service by publication shall be accomplished by publishing a copy of the rule to show cause portion of the statement in accordance with the provisions of LR 83.3. Except as otherwise directed by the Executive Committee, the division of the Court in which the notice is to be published will be as follows:

(1)   where the last known address of the attorney is located in the District, the division in which the address is located; or,

(2)   where no address is known or the last known address is outside of the District, the  Eastern Division.

(d)   Answer; Declaration. The attorney shall file, with the answer to the statement  of charges, a declaration identifying all courts before which the attorney is admitted to practice. The form of the declaration shall be established by the Executive Committee.

(e)   Assignment to Individual Judge. Following the filing of the answer to the statement of charges, if the Executive Committee determines that an evidentiary hearing is required, the proceeding shall be assigned by lot for a prompt hearing before a judge of this Court. The assigned judge shall not be one who was a member of the Executive Committee that determined that an evidentiary hearing was required. The decision of the assigned judge shall be final.

(f) Disbarment on Consent. Any attorney admitted to practice before this Court who is the subject of an investigation into, or a pending proceeding involving, allegations of misconduct may consent to disbarment, but only by delivering a declaration stating that the attorney desires to consent to disbarment and that:

  1. ) the attorney’s consent is freely and voluntarily rendered;

  2. ) the attorney is not being subjected to coercion or duress;

  3. ) the attorney is fully aware of the implications of so consenting;

  4. ) the attorney is aware that there is presently pending an investigation or proceeding  involving allegations that there exist grounds for the attorney’s discipline, the nature of  which the attorney shall specifically set forth; and

  5. ) the attorney acknowledges that the material facts so alleged are true.

Upon receipt of the required declaration, the Executive Committee shall enter an order disbarring  the attorney. The order of disbarment on consent shall be a matter of public record. However, the declaration shall not be publicly disclosed or made available for use in any other proceeding except where the Executive Committee orders such release after finding it to be required in the interests of justice.

An order imposing suspension or disbarment shall be entered on every docket in the attorney’s pending cases. A copy of the order shall be sent by: (1) certified mail to the attorney’s last known address with return receipt requested; (2) shipping services (e.g., UPS/FedEx) with signature required; (3) CM/ECF; or (4) email. Any one of these methods is sufficient to provide notice under this rule.

Amended May 24, 2013, December 23, 2016, September 30, 2019, and April 21, 2022

Note: The court does not control nor can it guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this information. Neither is it intended to endorse any view expressed nor reflect its importance by inclusion in this site.
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