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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD 1992-018


S.J.C. Order of Disbarment entered by Justice Ireland on June 5, 2000.1


On January 30, 1991, the respondent was convicted in the Oneida County Combined Courts for the Fifth Judicial District, New York, of three misdemeanors: criminal possession of a forged instrument, criminal impersonation, and criminal possession of stolen property. The forged instrument was a N.Y. Certificate of Title for a 1989 Mercury sedan altered to delete the name of the lienholder. Using the forged title, the respondent had impersonated another individual in an attempt to sell the Mercury to an automobile dealer. The third charge on which the respondent was convicted, criminal possession of stolen property, had arisen in a separate matter.

On January 30, 1991, the respondent was sentenced to concurrent terms of three years probation with 200 hours of community service, a requirement to report monthly to probation, and restitution in the amount of $10,136.77 to be paid in monthly installments of $340. On November 19, 1991, the respondent was charged with violation of the terms of probation by failing to make restitution as required and failing to report to her probation officer.

On April 23, 1993, after a hearing at which the respondent appeared, the Oneida Superior Court found that the respondent had violated the terms of her probation for the reasons cited and for leaving the jurisdiction without permission. On June 1, 1993, the respondent was re-sentenced to one year of incarceration in Oneida County Jail.

S. J. C. Rule 4:01, § 12, requires a lawyer convicted of a crime to notify Bar Counsel within ten days of the conviction. The respondent never notified Bar Counsel of her criminal convictions.

Between May 1991 and March 1992, respondent transmitted applications to graduate programs at various divinity schools. The respondent attached to these applications academic transcripts and fraudulent letters of recommendation with forged signatures which she either altered and forged herself or which she knew were altered and forged.

In August 1991, the woman whose name was forged to the recommendations complained to the Office of Bar Counsel. Bar Counsel brought the complaint to the respondent's attention in August 1991. Starting in 1992, the respondent failed to respond to Bar Counsel's requests for information concerning her graduate applications, failed to appear pursuant to subpoena lawfully issued by the Board pursuant to S. J. C. Rule 4:01, § 22, and failed to appear at a show cause hearing before the Supreme Judicial Court. On June 22, 1992, the Court found the respondent in contempt.

On June 22, 1992, the Court temporarily suspended the respondent from the practice of law. The respondent was served with the order of suspension on or about June 24, 1992. The respondent did not file an affidavit of compliance.

The respondent's convictions establish violations of Canon One, DR 1-102(A)(4) and (6). The respondent's use of forged letters of recommendation and altered transcripts also constitute violations of DR 1-102(A)(4) and (6). The respondent's probation violations which resulted in her re-sentencing, her failure to report her convictions to Bar Counsel and her failure to cooperate with Bar Counsel's investigation of the complaint against her violated Canon One, Disciplinary Rules 1-102(A) (5), and (6), and S.J.C. Rule 4:01 §3.

On November 9, 1999, Bar Counsel filed a petition for discipline against the respondent alleging the above-described violations. Because the respondent did not file an answer to the petition, the allegations were deemed admitted. See Board of Bar Overseers Rule 3.15(e). Bar Counsel also filed an affidavit concerning Bar Counsel's efforts to serve the respondent with the petition for discipline.

On April 10, 2000, the Board of Bar Overseers voted to recommend that an order of disbarment be entered forthwith. The Court so ordered on June 5, 2000.

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.

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