Mass.gov
   
Mass.Gov home Mass.gov  home get things done agencies Search Mass.Gov


Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2003-073

IN RE: STEVEN MERRITT

S.J.C. Order of Term Suspension entered by Justice Cowin on March 15, 2005.1
(S.J.C. Judgment of Reinstatement with conditions entered by Justice Cowin on March 23, 2010.)

SUMMARY2

The respondent was convicted in the Stoughton District Court on October 21, 2003, of violation of an abuse prevention order, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (glass shard) upon a pregnant woman, and malicious destruction of property valued over $250. He was sentenced to four years of probation with conditions that include completion of a batterer’s program, psychological evaluation and treatment as ordered, drug and alcohol evaluation and treatment, and staying away from the victim.

Assault with a dangerous weapon upon a pregnant woman and malicious destruction of property over $250 are felonies and therefore constitute serious crimes as defined by S. J. C. Rule 4:01, § 12(3). Any crime that includes as an element interference with the administration of justice is also a “serious” crime, and violation of a restraining order therefore qualifies as a serious crime. Based on the respondent’s conviction of serious crimes and with the respondent’s assent, he was temporarily suspended by the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County on December 10, 2003, pending further order.

On January 14, 2004, bar counsel filed a petition for discipline based on the convictions, alleging that the respondent’s conduct had violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(b), (d), and (h). On February 10, 2004, the respondent filed an answer admitting to all of the allegations of the petition for discipline and to the cited Rule violations. Both parties waived hearing on matters in mitigation and aggravation. The respondent and bar counsel requested that the Board of Bar Overseers recommend to the court that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a year and a day, retroactive to the date of the temporary suspension.

A majority of the board voted on April 12, 2004, and June 14, 2004, to reject the parties’ recommendation for discipline, preferring instead a suspension of two years. One member of the board preferred a suspension longer than two years, and two members of the board voted to accept the recommendation of the parties. On July 13, 2004, the Board of Bar Overseers filed an information with the county court recommending that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for two years.

The county court scheduled a hearing on the information for November 16, 2004. That hearing was canceled after the court notified the parties that the case was being reserved and reported to the Supreme Judicial Court for the Commonwealth.

On February 2, 2005, the respondent notified the county court that he was withdrawing his opposition to the recommendation of the Board of Bar Overseers and requested that an order enter suspending the respondent for two years, as recommended by the board, without further hearing.

On February 18, 2005, the county court (Cowin, J.) entered an order suspending the respondent for two years, effective immediately. On February 24, 2005, the respondent filed a motion, assented to by bar counsel, requesting that the order of suspension be amended to take effect on December 10, 2003, the effective date of the temporary suspension. On March 15, 2005, the county court entered an amended order of term suspension suspending the respondent for two years effective as of December 10, 2003, the effective date of the order of temporary suspension.

1 The complete Order of the Court is available by contacting the Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County.

2 Compiled by the Board of Bar Overseers based on the record before the Court.



BBO/OBC Privacy Policy. Please direct all questions to webmaster@massbbo.org.
© 2004. Board of Bar Overseers. Office of Bar Counsel. All rights reserved.