AttorneyGrievances.com

Rule 19-738. Discipline on conviction of crime.

(a) Definition. In this Rule, “conviction” includes a judgment of conviction entered upon acceptance by the court of a plea of nolo contendere.

(b) Duty of Attorney. An attorney charged with a serious crime in this State or any other jurisdiction shall promptly inform Bar Counsel in writing of (1) the filing of the charge, (2) any finding or verdict of guilty on such charge, and (3) the entry of a judgment of conviction on such charge.

Cross reference: Rule 19-701 (l).

(c) Petition Upon Conviction.

(1) Generally. Upon receiving and verifying information from any source that an attorney has been convicted of a serious crime, Bar Counsel may file a Petition for Disciplinary or Remedial Action pursuant to Rule 19-721 (a)(2). The petition may be filed whether an appeal or any other post-conviction proceeding is pending.

(2) Contents. The petition shall allege the fact of the conviction and include a request that the attorney be suspended immediately from the practice of law. A certified copy of the judgment of conviction shall be attached to the petition and shall be prima facie evidence of the fact that the attorney was convicted of the crime charged.

(d) Temporary Suspension. Upon filing of the petition pursuant to section (c) of this Rule, the Court of Appeals shall issue an order requiring the attorney to show cause within 15 days from the date of the order why the attorney should not be suspended immediately from the practice of law until the further order of the Court of Appeals. If, after consideration of the petition and the answer to the order to show cause, the Court of Appeals determines that the attorney has been convicted of a serious crime, the Court may enter an order suspending the attorney from the practice of law until final disposition of the disciplinary or remedial action. The Court of Appeals shall vacate the order and terminate the suspension if the conviction is reversed or vacated.

Cross reference: Rule 19-742.

(e) Petition When Imposition of Sentence is Delayed.

(1) Generally. Upon receiving and verifying information from any source that an attorney has been found guilty of a serious crime but that sentencing has been delayed for a period of more than 30 days, Bar Counsel may file a Petition for Interim Disciplinary or Remedial Action. The petition may be filed whether or not a motion for new trial or other relief is pending.

(2) Contents. The petition shall allege the finding of guilt and the delay in sentencing and request that the attorney be suspended immediately from the practice of law pending the imposition of sentence and entry of a judgment of conviction. Bar Counsel shall attach to the petition a certified copy of the docket reflecting the finding of guilt, which shall be prima facie evidence that the attorney was found guilty of the crime charged.

(3) Interim Temporary Suspension. Upon the filing of the petition, the Court of Appeals shall issue an order requiring the attorney to show cause within the time specified in the order why the attorney should not be suspended immediately from the practice of law, on an interim basis, until further order of the Court of Appeals. If, after consideration of the petition and any answer to the order to show cause, the Court of Appeals determines that the attorney was found guilty of a serious crime but that sentencing has been delayed for a period of more than 30 days, the Court may enter an order suspending the attorney from the practice of law on an interim basis pending further action by the trial court and further order of the Court of Appeals.

(4) Entry of Judgment of Conviction or Order for New Trial. Upon the imposition of sentence and entry of a judgment of conviction or upon the granting of a new trial by the trial court, Bar Counsel shall inform the Court of Appeals and attach a certified copy of the judgment of conviction or order granting a new trial. If a judgment of conviction was entered, Bar Counsel may file a petition under section (c) of this Rule. The Court shall then proceed in accordance with section (d) of this Rule but may order that any interim suspension remain in effect pending disposition of the new petition. If the trial court has vacated the finding of guilt and granted a new trial, or if the attorney received probation before judgment, the Court of Appeals shall dismiss the petition for interim suspension and terminate any interim suspension that has been ordered.

(f) Statement of Charges. If the Court of Appeals denies a petition filed under section (c) of this Rule, Bar Counsel may file a Statement of Charges under Rule 19-718.

(g) Further Proceedings. When a petition filed pursuant to section (c) of this Rule alleges the conviction of a serious crime and the attorney denies the conviction, the Court of Appeals may enter an order designating a judge pursuant to Rule 19-722 to hold a hearing in accordance with Rule 19-727.

(1) No Appeal of Conviction. If the attorney does not appeal the conviction, the hearing shall be held within a reasonable time after the time for appeal has expired.

(2) Appeal of Conviction. If the attorney appeals the conviction, the hearing shall be delayed, except as provided in section (h) of this Rule, until the completion of appellate review.

(A) If, after completion of appellate review, the conviction is reversed or vacated, the judge to whom the action is assigned shall either dismiss the petition or hear the action on the basis of evidence other than the conviction.

(B) If, after the completion of appellate review, the conviction is not reversed or vacated, the hearing shall be held within a reasonable time after the mandate is issued.

(3) Effect of Incarceration. If the attorney is incarcerated as a result of the conviction, the hearing shall be delayed until the termination of incarceration unless the attorney requests an earlier hearing and makes all arrangements (including financial arrangements) to attend the hearing or waives the right to attend.

(h) Right to Earlier Hearing. If the hearing on the petition has been delayed under subsection (g)(2) of this Rule and the attorney has been suspended from the practice of law under section (d) of this Rule, the attorney may request that the judge to whom the action is assigned hold an earlier hearing, at which the conviction shall be considered a final judgment.

(i) Conclusive Effect of Final Conviction. In any proceeding under this Chapter, a final judgment of any court of record convicting an attorney of a crime, whether the conviction resulted from acceptance by the court of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, or a verdict after trial, is conclusive evidence of the attorney's guilt of that crime. As used in this Rule, “final judgment” means a judgment as to which all rights to direct appellate review have been exhausted. The introduction of the judgment does not preclude the Commission or Bar Counsel from introducing additional evidence or the attorney from introducing evidence or otherwise showing cause why no discipline should be imposed.

(j) Duties of Clerk of Court of Appeals. The applicable provisions of Rule 19-761 apply when an order is entered under this Rule.