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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2007-076

IN RE: JOHN G. HARTNETT

S.J.C. Order of Term Suspension entered by Justice Greaney on February 28, 2008.1

SUMMARY2

The respondent was admitted to the bar in California in 1971 and in Massachusetts in 1977. The respondent had been administratively suspended in Massachusetts for failure to register for several years prior to the date bar counsel received notice of sanctions imposed in California.

On December 20, 2000, the respondent was suspended in California for one year, with execution stayed and probation imposed for a period of two years. The suspension resulted from the respondentís conviction on May 4, 2000, on four counts of disobeying a protective order, one count of assault, and one count of battery. The respondent did not report the convictions and the suspension to bar counsel in Massachusetts.

On August 26, 2004, the respondent was suspended from the practice of law in California for two years. All but six months of the suspension was stayed, and the respondent was placed on probation for two years, subject to conditions including restitution of $508.34, filing written reports with the California State Bar, attendance at Ethics School, and proof of fitness prior to reinstatement. The sanction was imposed for conduct including: filing a statement on behalf of a client with the California State Bar falsely certifying that disciplinary counsel faced charges of professional misconduct in the federal district court without reading the statement and verifying its contents, failing to cooperate in a bar discipline inquiry, failing to refund an unearned retainer, and appearing for a party in a civil action without that partyís authority. The respondent did not report this suspension to Massachusetts bar counsel.

On June 20, 2007, the respondent was suspended in California for two years, with one year stayed, for violating probation conditions imposed in connection with the 2004 suspension. The respondent was placed on probation for two years. The respondent did not report this suspension to Massachusetts bar counsel.

On August 30, 2007, bar counsel filed in the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County a petition for reciprocal discipline, seeking an order from the county court suspending the respondent for two years with the second year of the suspension stayed and reinstatement subject to reinstatement in California. On September 5, 2007, the county court issued an order of notice directing the respondent to show cause why reciprocal discipline should not be imposed in the Commonwealth. The respondent was served by certified mail at his last registered business address in Massachusetts and by first-class mail at three different addresses on file with the California State Bar. The respondent did not reply to the order of notice.

The county court, after notice, held a hearing on February 26, 2008, at which bar counsel appeared but the respondent did not. On February 28, 2008, the court entered an order immediately suspending the respondent from the practice of law for two years, with the second year of suspension stayed and reinstatement in Massachusetts conditioned upon the respondentís reinstatement in California.


FOOTNOTES:

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 Supreme Judicial Court.



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