(a) Definition. In this Rule, “conviction” includes (1) a judgment entered upon acceptance by the court of a plea of guilty, conditional plea of guilty, or nolo contendere and (2) a criminal matter in which a probation before judgment is entered by the trial court, regardless of whether the probation before judgment is predicated upon a plea of guilty, a conditional plea of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendere or upon a finding of guilt by a trier of fact after a trial on the merits.

(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, (3) the entry of a judgment of conviction or a probation before judgment on such charge, and (4) the final disposition of the charge in each court that exercised jurisdiction over the charge.

(c) Petition for Disciplinary or Remedial Action.

(1) Petition Upon Conviction.

(A) 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.

(B) 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 or a certified copy of the transcript reflecting the 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.

(2) Petition When Imposition of Sentence is Delayed.

(A) 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 Disciplinary or Remedial Action pursuant to Rule 19-721 (a)(2). The petition may be filed whether or not a motion for new trial or other relief is pending.

(B) 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 or a certified copy of the transcript reflecting the finding of guilt, which shall be prima facie evidence that the attorney was found guilty of the crime charged.

(C) Notification to the Court of Appeals. Upon the imposition of sentence and entry of a judgment of conviction, Bar Counsel shall inform the Court of Appeals and attach a certified copy of the judgment of conviction or a certified copy of the transcript reflecting the conviction.

(d) Show Cause Order. When the petition demonstrates that an attorney has been found guilty or convicted of a serious crime, the Court of Appeals shall order that the attorney, within 15 days from the date of the order, show cause in writing why the attorney should not be suspended immediately from the practice of law until the further order of the Court of Appeals.

(e) Temporary Suspension of Attorney. Upon consideration of the petition and the answer to the order to show cause, the Court of Appeals may enter an order immediately suspending the attorney from the practice of law, pending further order of the Court, or enter an order containing any other appropriate provisions. The provisions of Rules 19-741 and 19-743, as applicable, apply to an order suspending an attorney under this section.

Cross reference: Rule 19-741.

(f) Termination of Temporary Suspension.

(1) On notification by Bar Counsel or the attorney that the conviction was reversed, the Court of Appeals shall vacate the order of temporary suspension, unless other grounds exist for the suspension to remain in effect.

(g) Action by the Court of Appeals. When a petition filed pursuant to section (c) of this Rule alleges the conviction of a serious crime and the attorney denies the conviction or intends to present evidence in support of a disposition other than disbarment, the Court of Appeals may (1) immediately suspend the attorney, (2) enter an order designating a judge pursuant to Rule 19-722 to hold a hearing in accordance with Rule 19-727, or (3) enter any other appropriate order. The provisions of Rules 19-741 and 19-743 apply to an order under this section that disbars or suspends an attorney or that places the attorney on inactive status.

(h) Time for Holding a Hearing. If, pursuant to section (g) of this Rule, the Court designates a judge to hold a hearing, the hearing shall be scheduled as follows:

(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)(4) 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.

(4) Right to Earlier Hearing. If the hearing on the petition has been delayed under subsection (h)(2) of this Rule and the attorney has been suspended from the practice of law under section (e) 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 a disposition other than disbarment should be entered.

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

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

Attorney Grievance defense attorney specializes in defending lawyers in disciplinary proceedings before the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission and the D.C. Bar's Board on Professional Responsibility involving professional misconduct, legal ethics, disbarment, suspensions of law licenses, petitions for disciplinary action, reprimands and sanctions for unethical conduct. If you receive a letter from Bar Counsel Lydia Lawless, Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox, or from any attorney disciplinary board in Maryland or the District of Columbia, retain experienced attorneys with expertise in lawyer discipline and breach of ethics cases to avoid sanctions for professional misconduct. We help lawyers avoid disbarment, suspension, reprimands, censure and informal admonitions by drafting responses to client grievances and ethical complaints; representing lawyers in peer reviews, evidentiary hearings, and oral arguments before the BPR and the Court of Appeals; filing petitions to reinstate an attorney's license to practice law; conducting law firm ethical compliance audits; and drafting legal ethics opinions to protect lawyers from ethics charges. In many cases, disciplinary proceedings may be dismissed, dismissed with a warning, or result in a conditional diversion agreement with Bar Counsel to rectify misconduct. Lawyers may need help in managing their law firm attorney escrow IOLTA trust account and complying with attorney trust accounting rules to avoid charges of ethical misconduct. Do not represent yourself in responding to an attorney grievance, law firm client complaint, or other allegation of ethical impropriety. Attorney grievance defense counsel may help you comply with legal ethics rules, avoid sanctions like suspension or disbarment, and avoid future attorney grievances.

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By The Lawyer's Lawyers | Kramer & Connolly and Irwin R. Kramer who are responsible for the content of this informational website.   This website is designed for lawyers faced with attorney grievances. As cases do differ, past performance does not guarantee future results.
 

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