Alaska Supreme Court Opinions made Available byTouch N' Go Systems and Bright Solutions

Touch N' Go
, the DeskTop In-and-Out Board makes your office run smoother.

  This site is possible because of the following site sponsors. Please support them with your business.

You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. In Re Ford (01/27/2006) sp-5979

In Re Ford (01/27/2006) sp-5979, 128 P3d 178

     Notice:   This opinion is subject to correction  before
     publication  in  the  Pacific  Reporter.   Readers  are
     requested to bring errors to the attention of the Clerk
     of  the  Appellate  Courts, 303  K  Street,  Anchorage,
     Alaska 99501, phone (907) 264-0608, fax (907) 264-0878,


In the Disciplinary Matter )
Involving ) Supreme Court No. S- 11504
WILLIAM T. FORD, ) ABA File No. 2000D232
Respondent. ) O P I N I O N
5979 - January 27, 2006]

          Appeal   from   the  Alaska  Bar  Association
          Disciplinary Board.

          Appearances:  Robert C. Erwin, Erwin & Erwin,
          LLC,   Anchorage,   for   Respondent.    Mark
          Woelber,  Assistant Bar Counsel,  Alaska  Bar

          Before:    Bryner,  Chief Justice,  Matthews,
          Eastaugh, Fabe, and Carpeneti, Justices.

          EASTAUGH, Justice.

          Although  the superior court directed attorney  William
T. Ford to deposit a $20,000 check in Fords client trust account,
Ford  mailed  the uncashed check back to the out-of-state  payor.
Because  Ford  knowingly disobey[ed] an order of  a  tribunal  in
violation  of  Alaska  Rule of Professional Conduct  3.4(c),  the
disciplinary board of the Alaska Bar Association recommended that
Ford  be  suspended from practice for ninety days.  In exercising
our   responsibility  for  attorney  discipline  in  Alaska,   we
independently   conclude   that  a   ninety-day   suspension   is
appropriate  under the facts presented. We therefore  order  Ford
suspended for ninety days.
          The facts in this case are undisputed.  William T. Ford
is  an  attorney licensed to practice in Alaska.  In 2000 he  was
hired to represent Gary Green in a post-trial divorce proceeding.
Following entry of the final divorce decree, Greens ex-wife asked
the  superior court to order the sale of property to satisfy  the
$105,000  judgment.  Green  did  not  have  $105,000  to  post  a
supersedeas bond pending appeal.  Ford suggested to Green that if
Green  could borrow money to at least cover the interest  on  the
judgment,  they  might  negotiate a  stay  of  execution.   Green
borrowed  $20,000  from a relative, who sent to  Fords  office  a
cashiers  check payable to Ford.  At a superior court hearing  on
the  motion  to  sell the property, Ford offered the  $20,000  on
behalf of his client to obtain a stay of execution.  The superior
court  agreed with that proposal and opposing counsel prepared  a
proposed  order directing that the $20,000 check be deposited  in
Fords  trust  account and that the funds then be  transferred  to
opposing  counsel.  The proposed order, however, did not  provide
for  a stay of execution.  Ford objected to this omission but the
superior  court  signed the order as proposed.  After  conferring
with  his  client, Ford did not deposit the check  in  the  trust
account but returned the uncashed check to the lender. Ford  then
notified  opposing counsel of what he had done.  When  Green  was
unable  to  obtain  other funds to satisfy the court  order,  the
superior court referred the matter to the Alaska Bar Association.
Bar  counsel petitioned for a formal hearing, alleging that  Ford
had  violated  Alaska Rule of Professional Conduct 3.4(c).1   The
hearing  committee  granted  the Bar  Associations  petition  for
summary  judgment on the issue of misconduct.   It  then  held  a
hearing  on the issue of sanctions and determined that a  thirty-
day  suspension was appropriate.  The disciplinary board reviewed
the  hearing  committees  decision  and  adopted  the  committees
findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding misconduct. But
it  rejected, by a vote of five-to-three, the hearing  committees
proposed   sanction   and   instead  recommended   a   ninety-day
suspension.  Ford appealed.
          We  initially  remanded this case to  the  disciplinary
board because the board did not explain why it had recommended  a
longer  suspension than the hearing committee had  proposed,  and
because  it  had  not  explained how earlier violations  by  Ford
affected the boards analysis.  On remand, the disciplinary  board
made  additional findings, and unanimously recommended a  ninety-
day suspension.
III.      DISCUSSION     A.   Standard of Review
          Bar  counsel has the burden of proving the  charges  of
misconduct  in  a  petition  for  formal  hearing  by  clear  and
convincing  evidence.  This court reviews  the  evidence  adduced
before the hearing committee independently while giving deference
to the findings of the board.2  We determine sanctions on a case-
by-case  basis,  guided but not constrained by the  American  Bar
Associations Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions and  by  the
sanctions imposed in comparable disciplinary proceedings.3
     B.   Summary Judgment
          Ford  submits  that  he  has found  no  case  involving
professional  discipline  of  an attorney  in  Alaska  where  the
decision on liability was decided without a hearing. He refers to
          In re Friedman4 and In re Triem5 and argues that a reading of
[these cases] reveals that the Alaska Supreme Court affirmed  the
findings  .  .  .  only  after finding that  additional  evidence
bolstered  the original decision in Friedman and after a  hearing
was  in  fact held in Triem.  But these decisions do not indicate
that  the  hearing committee is prohibited from granting  summary
judgment on the issue of misconduct.  Summary judgment is  proper
if there is no genuine issue of material fact.6  We see no reason
why  the  standard governing summary judgment should be different
in the disciplinary context.7
          Conduct  Rule 3.4(c) provides that a lawyer  shall  not
knowingly  violate a court order.8  Ford did  not  deny  that  he
knowingly  violated the superior courts order; rather, he  denied
that  he  did so willfully because he thought he had  a  duty  to
follow the instructions of his client.  He argued that the reason
for  the  action  taken determines whether or  not  he  committed
professional  misconduct and that he had to return the  funds  to
the  source  from  which  they came as requested  by  his  client
[because] the stated purpose for using them was refused.
          But  even  if  Ford did not want to disobey  the  court
order,  there  is no genuine factual dispute that he  nonetheless
knew  that  he  was  disobeying  a  valid  order.   As  the   Bar
Association points out, Ford did not openly refuse to comply with
the  order as allowed by Conduct Rule 3.4(c)9; and Ford does  not
attempt  to  rely  on  this exception.  There  was  therefore  no
genuine  issue  of  material fact as to  whether  Ford  knowingly
violated  the  superior courts order.  Accordingly,  the  hearing
committee did not err in resolving the issue by granting  partial
summary judgment.
          And,  in any event, we are the ultimate finder of  fact
in  bar  disciplinary  matters.10  Ford does  not  deny  that  he
knowingly violated the superior courts order and his defense that
he  had to return the money because his client directed him to do
so   does  not  absolve  Fords  misconduct.11   Alaska  Rule   of
Professional Conduct 1.2(e) provides: When a lawyer knows that  a
client   expects  assistance  not  permitted  by  the  rules   of
professional conduct or other law, the lawyer shall consult  with
the  client  regarding the relevant limitations  on  the  lawyers
conduct.   This  provision indicates that  a  clients  wishes  or
interests  do  not supersede a lawyers ethical  obligations.   We
therefore  agree with the hearing committee and the  disciplinary
board that Ford violated Conduct Rule 3.4(c).
          We are aware that difficulties may arise if an attorney
honestly believes he or she is caught between obligations to  the
client  and obligations to the court.  But Ford could have  taken
other  action.  If he believed that the court order was  invalid,
Conduct Rule 3.4(c) allowed for an open refusal.12  If he felt he
was  obliged to disobey the superior courts order he should  have
done so openly by informing the superior court that he could  not
comply  with  the  order.  Moreover, if Ford felt  he  could  not
ethically turn over the money to opposing counsel, he could  have
placed  the check in the registry of the court, or could have  at
least retained the check while seeking appellate review.  Instead
of  immediately seeking a stay, he filed no superior  court  stay
          motion and first sought a stay from us three weeks after he had
already returned the check.  By unilaterally returning the  check
to the out-of-state payor, Ford placed the funds beyond the reach
of the Alaska courts.
          If,  as  Ford  argues,  the superior  courts  Order  to
Deposit and Disburse was patently wrong, his best course  was  to
challenge  the  order and take procedural steps to  preserve  the
status  quo during that challenge.  He should have sought a  stay
under  Alaska Appellate Rule 205, and if that was denied he could
have sought an expedited ruling as to the deposit issue.
          Alaska Rule of Professional Conduct 1.16(a) states that
a  lawyer shall withdraw from the representation of a client if .
.  . the representation will result in violation of the rules  of
professional  conduct  or  other  law.   If  Ford  believed  that
complying   with   the   superior  court  order   would   violate
professional ethics, he might also have petitioned the  court  to
allow  him  to withdraw as counsel.  An attorney may challenge  a
court order by motion, appeal, or other legal means, but may  not
simply disregard it.
          Finally,  we  observe that Fords dilemma resulted  from
his own failure to foresee that once the funds were in his or his
clients  possession, the clients former spouse might  attempt  to
attach  the  funds and might succeed in obtaining a  court  order
allowing  execution.   Ford  could have  avoided  this  potential
problem by instructing his client to have the lender deliver  the
check only after the proposed deal was signed and ordered.
     C.   Sanctions
          Ford   argues   that  the  disciplinary  board   simply
substituted  its judgment for that of the hearing  committee  and
increased the sanctions to 90 days without the benefit of hearing
the  witnesses,  argument or observing Mr. Ford at  the  hearing.
(Internal  citation  omitted.)   He  further  contends  that  due
process  of law requires more than a substitution of judgment  by
the [disciplinary board], in order for any weight to be given  to
Board actions.
          Alaska Bar Rule 10(c)(5) provides that the disciplinary
board  shall have the power to review and modify the findings  of
fact,   conclusions  of  law,  and  recommendations  of   Hearing
Committees regardless of whether there has been an appeal to  the
Board,  and without regard to the discipline recommended  by  the
Hearing  Committee.  Nothing in this rule states or implies  that
the  board must conduct an independent evidentiary hearing, order
briefing,  or hold oral arguments before issuing decisions.   The
Bar  Association  notes that the existence of Bar  Rule  10(c)(5)
gave  notice  to  Ford  of the disciplinary  boards  prerogative.
Regardless,  we  exercise our independent judgment  in  questions
concerning  the  appropriateness of sanctions.13   We  accept  or
reject the recommendation of the disciplinary board based on  our
reading  of the record.  For reasons discussed below,  we  accept
that recommendation in this case.
          We  follow  a three-step analysis in imposing  attorney
sanctions.14  First, we address the first three prongs of the ABA
Standards  for imposing sanctions, determining the duty violated,
the  lawyers  mental  state, and the  extent  of  the  actual  or
          potential injury.15  Second, we look to the ABA Standards to
discern  what sanction is recommended for the type of  misconduct
found  in  [step 1].16  Third, after determining the  recommended
sanction,  we  decide whether aggravating or  mitigating  factors
should affect that sanction.17
          1.   Prong One: duty violation, mental state, injury
          The  hearing  committee found that  Ford  by  knowingly
disobeying  a  court order violated the duty imposed  by  Conduct
Rule  3.4(c).18  The disciplinary board reviewed the  record  and
adopted  the  committees findings and conclusions.   For  reasons
explained  above,  it  is clear that Ford violated  Conduct  Rule
          As  to  his  mental state, the hearing committee  found
that  Ford  knowingly disobeyed the court order when he  returned
the funds to the lender, in compliance with the instructions from
his  client, but in violation of the court order.  Ford does  not
contest  that he knowingly violated the order.  Rather he  claims
that  he was caught between two conflicting duties.  He maintains
that the choice he made was required by his fiduciary duty to his
client  which  he  could not ignore because of  his  professional
responsibility  to  that client under the Rules  of  Professional
Conduct,  Rules  1.1 [Competence], 1.2 [Scope of  Representation]
and  1.15  [Safekeeping  Property].  We  do  not  question  Fords
sincerity  in  believing  that the code of  professional  conduct
required  him to return the check.  Even so, such a  belief  does
not  seem  reasonable.  Conduct Rule 1.15, governing safeguarding
of  client property, is the rule most on point.  Yet the  comment
to Conduct Rule 1.15 declares that:
          Third  parties, such as a clients  creditors,
          may  have just claims against funds and other
          property in a lawyers custody.  A lawyer  may
          have  a  duty under applicable law to protect
          such  third  party  claims  against  wrongful
          interference  by the client, and  accordingly
          may  refuse to surrender the property to  the
Fords contention that he did not act willfully but only out of  a
sense  of obligation to his client might be more powerful if  the
ethical  conflict had been as strong as he suggests.   But  given
the  statement of the comment to Conduct Rule 1.15 that a  lawyer
may  refuse to surrender the property to a client and  given  the
duty  to  protect third parties that was at least potentially  at
stake,  Ford should have realized that he was required to  follow
the  court  order,  or  at least could not  act  unilaterally  to
prevent  it  from being obeyed.  We do not regard  Fords  ethical
dilemma  as  significantly mitigating his  knowing  violation  of
Conduct Rule 3.4(c).
          With  respect  to  injury, the hearing committee  noted
that  [r]esisting court orders can interfere with  the  efficient
operation  of  the  court system.  The Bar  Association  properly
noted  that Fords defiance of the legal process was the  sort  of
conduct  that  by its nature promotes public disrespect  for  the
legal  profession.19  It is not desirable for lawyers  to  decide
          when to comply with court orders outside the confines of the
exception provided in Conduct Rule 3.4(c).
          2.   Prong Two: presumptive sanction
          ABA   Standards   6.22  provides  that  suspension   is
generally  appropriate when a lawyer knows  that  he  or  she  is
violating  a court order or rule and there is injury or potential
injury  to  a  client  or a party, or interference  or  potential
interference with a legal proceeding.  ABA Standards  2.3  states
that [g]enerally, suspension should be for a period of time equal
to or greater than six months.20
          3.      Prong   Three:   aggravating   and   mitigating
          The ABA Standards recognize eleven aggravating factors.21
The  hearing  committee found two aggravators: prior disciplinary
offenses  and a pattern of misconduct.  It noted that  Ford  does
have  a  recurrent  record of disciplinary actions,  including  3
recent  matters  within  less than 10 years  and  that  Ford  had
previously  been admonished for violating a court  order.   Fords
substantial  experience in the practice of law is  an  additional
aggravator.22  The hearing committee found two mitigating factors
out  of  the  thirteen  recognized by the ABA  Standards.23   The
committee found that Ford did not act with a dishonest or selfish
motive  and  promptly disclosed his conduct and fully  cooperated
with the ensuing proceedings.
          There   is   no  magic  formula  for  determining   how
aggravating  and  mitigating circumstances  affect  an  otherwise
appropriate sanction.24  Indeed,  [e]ach case presents  different
circumstances  which  must  be weighed  against  the  nature  and
gravity of the lawyers misconduct. 25  As we noted above, we  are
guided  but  not constrained by the [ABA Standards]  and  by  the
sanctions imposed in comparable disciplinary proceedings.26   The
ABA  Standards recommend that [g]enerally, suspension  should  be
for  a period of time equal to or greater than six months.27  But
this  court has in some cases imposed suspensions for  less  than
six  months.   We ordered ninety-day suspensions  in  Burrell  v.
Disciplinary Board of the Alaska Bar Assn,28 in In re West,29 and
in In re Triem.30
          4.   Our prior cases
          The misconduct in Burrell involved conflict of interest
and  violation of a disqualification order.31  This court ordered
that Burrell be suspended from the active practice of law for  90
days  with reinstatement conditioned on passage of the Multistate
Professional Responsibility Examination,32 reasoning:
          Homer   Burrells  representation   of   Lynne
          Burrell in a civil suit against James  Hanger
          constituted a conflict of interest, which  is
          a clear and significant violation of the Code
          of  Professional  Responsibility.   There  is
          also  more  than  adequate  evidence  in  the
          record   which   demonstrates  that   Burrell
          violated  the  terms of the  superior  courts
          disqualification   order.     Actions    like
          Burrells  seriously  undermine  the   publics
          confidence    in   Alaskas   legal    system.
          Additionally, we think it of importance  that
          Burrell  demonstrated a lack of  appreciation
          of the wrongfulness of his actions.[33]
          In In re West, the attorney intentionally notarized his
deceased  clients signature, knowing that the clients  widow  had
falsified  the  signature  at [the attorneys]  direction.   [His]
motive  was  to  induce  the state to  enter  into  a  negotiated
property-loss  settlement which would have at  least  temporarily
foundered  if the clients fatal heart attack had been revealed.34
We  concluded  that Wests extensive practice experience  provides
the  only significant aggravating circumstance35 and agreed  that
mitigating  factors included  mental disability or impairment  at
the  time  of  misconduct  and evidence of   good  character  and
reputation. 36  West received a ninety-day suspension.37
          In  In  re  Triem, the attorney received  a  ninety-day
suspension  followed by probation for neglecting a  legal  matter
entrusted to him by his client.38  We noted that Triem has proven
that public censure or a period of probation is not effective  in
influencing  his conduct because he was already on probation  for
neglecting another clients case.39  The court decided to impose a
ninety-day  suspension instead of the six months  recommended  by
the  ABA  Standards because a ninety-day suspension  will  impose
considerable  hardship  and will be a  significant  sanction  for
Triem, a solo practitioner in a small community.40
          Fords actions in the current case are less serious than
the  conduct  in  In re West and Burrell, and  arguably  no  more
serious  than the conduct in In re Triem.  Because we are  guided
by  the sanctions imposed in comparable disciplinary proceedings,
it  would  be inappropriate to impose a longer sentence  on  Ford
simply  because  the ABA generally recommends  suspension  be  at
least six months.
          Yet  we  agree  that a suspension is  necessary.   Ford
apparently  believes  that what he did  was  appropriate  and  he
insists  that a lawyer can refuse to obey an order and be  right.
Regardless  of the propriety of the superior courts  order,  Ford
failed  to  follow  the  proper  avenues  of  legal  recourse  by
appealing or seeking a stay.  Fords conduct before and after  the
incident  demonstrates  an  ongoing  disrespect  for  the   legal
          This  is  not the first time the Bar Association  found
that Ford knowingly violated a court order.  In 1998 Ford advised
a  client  not  to  comply with an order  to  bring  the  parties
children  back to Alaska for trial.  Neither Ford nor his  client
appeared  for  trial.  Whether one regards this as  the  attorney
advising  a  client to ignore a court order, or as  the  attorney
himself  failing to comply with the trial calendering order,  the
disciplinary  board  concluded that Ford knowingly  violat[ed]  a
court  order.  As in the current case, Ford expressed no  remorse
for  his 1998 conduct.  In defending his 1998 conduct, Ford wrote
in  a  letter  to Bar counsel that if he had to do  it  all  over
again, I doubt that I would have done much differently.
          It  is significant that Ford was admonished in 1998 for
knowingly  violating a court order, the same  type  of  violation
          that is now before us.  We conclude that the 1998 admonition
failed  to  deter Ford from knowingly violating the  2000  order.
This  indicates  to  us  that he would be equally  undeterred  by
public   censure  or  probation,  or  any  discipline  short   of
          There  is  no reported case in which we have imposed  a
suspension of less than ninety days.41  Indeed, one member of this
court declared that
          [a]  ninety-day suspension is not so  much  a
          substantial  penalty  as  it  is  an   unpaid
          vacation  because  it allows  [the  attorney]
          merely to delay performing requested services
          .  .  .  .   If [an attorneys] misconduct  is
          serious  enough to warrant a suspension  from
          practice, then he [or she] should be made  to
          suffer   the   consequences  of  its   actual
We  do  not  view  a ninety-day suspension here as insubstantial.
Like  Triem,  Ford is a single practitioner and a  suspension  of
ninety  days will likely result in significant hardship.  But  we
acknowledge that a sixty-day suspension might be perceived  as  a
vacation.   A  suspension  shorter  than  ninety  days  would  be
unlikely  to  deter  Ford  from future misconduct;  a  suspension
longer than ninety days would be out of line with suspensions  we
have imposed for comparable violations.
          We  therefore order Ford SUSPENDED from the practice of
law for ninety days.
     1     Alaska Rule of Professional Conduct 3.4(c) provides: A
lawyer  shall  not knowingly violate or disobey  an  order  of  a
tribunal  or  the rules of a tribunal except for an open  refusal
based  on an assertion that the order is invalid or that no valid
obligation exists.

     2     In  re  Friedman,  23  P.3d  620,  625  (Alaska  2001)
(internal quotation marks omitted).

     3    Id. at 625 (internal citations omitted).

     4     In re Friedman, 23 P.3d 620, 626 (Alaska 2001).  In In
re  Friedman  the hearing committee made a finding of  intent  on
summary judgment.  Id. at 624.  We stated:

          Although  we  are  unenthusiastic   about   a
          finding  of  intent on summary judgment,  the
          procedure  followed here probably  cured  any
          procedural  deficiency: first, after  hearing
          Friedmans extensive testimony at the sanction
          hearing,    the   hearing   committee    made
          additional findings and conclusions;  second,
          the   board   independently  considered   the
          committees    proceedings,   findings,    and
          conclusions, as well as the record.

     5     In  re  Triem, 929 P.2d 634 (Alaska 1996).  In  In  re
Triem the committee made a finding of intent [a]fter briefing was
completed  and without oral argument or testimony.  Id.  at  639.
The  board,  on  appeal, heard oral argument.  Id.  at  640.   We
affirmed.  Id. at 649.

     6     Cf.  Odsather  v.  Richardson, 96 P.3d  521,  523  n.2
(Alaska  2004) (noting that summary judgment is proper  when  the
record presents no genuine issues of material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law).

     7     Other jurisdictions addressing this issue have also so
held.   See, e.g., The Florida Bar v. Mogil, 763 So. 2d 303,  308
(Fla.  2000)  (holding  that  summary  judgment  was  proper   in
disciplinary proceeding in which attorney had conceded the  issue
of guilt despite attorneys desire to have an opportunity to argue
his version of the facts in mitigation of discipline).

     8     Alaska  Rule  of Professional Conduct  9.1(f)  defines
knowingly  as actual knowledge of the fact in question.   And  we
have  stated that  [k]nowing includes the conscious awareness  of
the  nature  or  attendant circumstances of the  conduct  .  .  .
without  the  conscious  objective or  purpose  to  accomplish  a
particular  result.    In re Friedman, 23 P.3d  at  626  (quoting
American Bar Association, Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions
at 17 (1991) [hereinafter ABA Standards]).

     9     Conduct  Rule 3.4(c) allows an open refusal to  comply
with an order based on an assertion that the order is invalid  or
that no valid obligation exists.

     10    In re Friedman, 23 P.3d at 626 (citing In re Frost, 863
P.2d 843, 844 (Alaska 1993)).

     11    Although the client has not submitted any affidavit or
testimony that he instructed Ford to return the check, we  assume
that  Ford  was,  as  he  testified,  acting  under  his  clients
directions to return the check.

     12     See  2 Geoffrey C. Hazard & William W. Hodes, Law  of
Lawyering   30.9  (3d ed. 2005) (noting that  Model  Rule  3.4(c)
permits  good  faith noncompliance in order  to  test  an  orders
validity when done openly).

     13    In re Friedman, 23 P.3d at 625.

     14    Id.

     15    Id.

     16     In re Buckalew, 731 P.2d 48, 52 (Alaska 1986), quoted
in  In  re  Friedman,  23 P.3d at 625 (internal  quotation  marks

     17    In re Friedman, 23 P.3d at 625.

     18     The Bar Association argued below that Fords violation
of  Conduct Rule 3.4(c) breached a duty owed to the legal  system
and  cited  ABA  Standards  6.2, which recommends sanctions  for,
among  other  things,  failure to obey any obligation  under  the
rules  of  a  tribunal  except for an open refusal  based  on  an
assertion that no valid obligation exists . . . .

     19     Cf. In re Friedman, 23 P.3d at 631 (noting that there
is   public  injury  when   lawyer  fails  to  maintain  personal
integrity by improperly handling entrusted funds).

     20    The commentary to ABA Standards  2.3 points out that

          short-term    suspensions   with    automatic
          reinstatement are not an effective  means  of
          protecting   the  public.    If   a   lawyers
          misconduct  is serious enough  to  warrant  a
          suspension  from practice, the lawyer  should
          not be reinstated until rehabilitation can be
          established.   While it may  be  possible  in
          some    cases   for   a   lawyer   to    show
          rehabilitation in less than six months, it is
          preferable to suspend a lawyer for  at  least
          six  months  in  order  to  ensure  effective
          demonstration of rehabilitation.
     21    ABA Standards  9.22 states:

          Aggravating factors include:
          (a)  prior disciplinary offenses;
          (b)  dishonest or selfish motive;
          (c)  a pattern of misconduct;
          (d)  multiple offenses;
          (e)     bad   faith   obstruction   of    the
          disciplinary   proceeding  by   intentionally
          failing to comply with rules or orders of the
          disciplinary agency;
          (f)   submission  of  false  evidence,  false
          statements,  or  other  deceptive   practices
          during the disciplinary process;
          (g)   refusal  to acknowledge wrongful  nature  of
          (h)  vulnerability of victim;
          (i)   substantial  experience in the  practice  of
          (j)  indifference to making restitution;
          (k)     illegal   conduct,   including   that
          involving the use of controlled substances.
     22     See ABA Standards  9.22(i).  Ford was admitted to the
Alaska Bar in 1979.

     23    ABA Standards  9.32 states:

          Mitigating factors include:
          (a)  absence of a prior disciplinary record;
          (b)  absence of a dishonest or selfish motive;
          (c)  personal or emotional problems;
          (d)    timely  good  faith  effort  to   make
          restitution  or  to rectify  consequences  of
          (e)  full and free disclosure to disciplinary
          board    or   cooperative   attitude   toward
          (f)  inexperience in the practice of law;
          (g)  character or reputation;
          (h)  physical disability;
          (i)  mental disability or chemical dependency
          including alcoholism or drug abuse when:
               (1)   there is medical evidence that the
          respondent   is   affected  by   a   chemical
          dependency or mental disability;
               (2)   the chemical dependency or  mental
          disability caused the misconduct;
               (3)   the respondents recovery from  the
          chemical  dependency or mental disability  is
          demonstrated  by a meaningful  and  sustained
          period of successful rehabilitation; and
               (4)     the   recovery   arrested    the
          misconduct  and recurrence of that misconduct
          is unlikely.
          (j)  delay in disciplinary proceedings;
          (k)  imposition of other penalties or sanctions;
          (l)  remorse;
          (m)  remoteness of prior offenses.
     24    In re Friedman, 23 P.3d at 633 (quoting In re Buckalew,
731 P.2d 48, 54 (Alaska 1986)).

     25    Id. (quoting In re Buckalew, 731 P.2d at 54).

     26    Id. at 625.

     27    ABA Standards  2.3.

     28     Burrell v. Disciplinary Bd. of Alaska Bar  Assn,  702
P.2d 240, 244 (Alaska 1985).  It should be noted that Burrell was
decided  before we adopted the ABA Standards as a  reference  for
attorney misconduct cases in In re Buckalew, 731 P.2d at 52.

     29    In re West, 805 P.2d 351, 359-60 (Alaska 1991).

     30    In re Triem, 929 P.2d 634, 650 (Alaska 1996).

     31    Burrell, 702 P.2d at 241.

     32    Id. at 244.

     33    Id. at 243-44.

     34     In  re Friedman, 23 P.3d at 633-34 (describing In  re

     35    In re West, 805 P.2d at 358.  The court noted that West
ha[d]  been  a member of the Alaska Bar Association  since  1971.

     36     Id.  at  359  (quoting Bar Association hearing  panel

     37    Id. at 360.

     38    In re Triem, 929 P.2d at 650.

     39    Id. at 648.

     40    Id.

     41    In one case the disciplinary board recommended a sixty-
day  suspension  but we determined that a three-month  suspension
was  more appropriate.  Burrell v. Disciplinary Bd. of Alaska Bar
Assn, 777 P.2d 1140, 1142, 1145 (Alaska 1989).

     42      In  re  Triem,  929  P.2d  at  650  (Compton,  C.J.,
dissenting) (internal citation omitted).

This site is possible because of the following site sponsors. Please support them with your business.
Case Law
Statutes, Regs & Rules

IT Advice, Support, Data Recovery & Computer Forensics.
(907) 338-8188

Please help us support these and other worthy organizations:
Law Project for Psychiatraic Rights