Despite three prior sanctions, including a prior suspension for similar misconduct, a five-judge majority rejected Bar Counsel's call for disbarment in a case involving the negligent mismanagement of client funds.
Issue: What sanction should the Court impose upon an attorney who failed to maintain records accurately reflecting the status of his attorney trust account, commingled personal funds and client funds within the account, withdrew cash from the account, and created negative balances in multiple client accounts?
Holding: Although the Court did not believe that this attorney acted dishonestly, and there was no evidence that any client lost money as a result of his mismanagement, three prior disciplinary sanctions constituted an aggravating factor that precluded a reprimand or more limited suspension and a five-judge majority imposed an indefinite suspension.
Alleged Violations: Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1 (Competence); 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters); 8.4(a) and (d) (Misconduct); Maryland Rule 16.606.1 (Attorney Trust Account Record-Keeping); Maryland Rule 16-607 (Commingling of Funds); Maryland Rule 16-609 (Prohibited Transactions); and Business Occupations and Professions Article § 10-306 (Misuse of Trust Money).
Argued: November 3, 2016
Decided: December 19, 2016
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