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Robert N. McDonald

Robert N. McDonald

Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland

ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMM'N v. SMITH, Bruce

Issue: What sanction should the Court impose upon a former Assistant State’s Attorney who failed to communicate at all with the victim in a child sexual abuse case despite constitutional and statutory obligations to do so, provided erroneous information to the Court in a request to postpone the trial, failed to provide the sentencing court with a victim impact statement, and failed to inform the child victim and the victim’s foster mother of the prosecution or of the probation condition requiring the defendant to have no contact of any kind with the victim?

Holding: Because the former prosecutor's failure to communicate with the victim or victim’s representative in a child sexual abuse case resulted in (1) a failure to comply with his constitutional and statutory obligations toward the victim, (2) incorrect information to the Court in connection with a request to postpone the trial, (3) the lack of a victim impact statement at the time of sentencing, and (4) the lack of key information to child victim and victim’s foster mother, the attorney was indefinitely suspended with the right to re-apply for admission to the bar no sooner than 60 days after the start of her suspension.

Alleged Violations: Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 and 8.4(a) & (d).

Citation: 442 Md. 14 (2015)

  • Decided on .
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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OR THE BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE D.C. BAR