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No. BD99-068

IN RE: JAMES FREEMAN O'BRIEN

ORDER OF TERM SUSPENSION1


SUMMARY

On June 30, 1998, the respondent was convicted in the Concord District Court of operating under the influence of liquor, third offense, and leaving the scene of an accident after property damage, all in violation of G. L. c. 90, &sec; 24. The respondent was sentenced on the driving under charge to one year's imprisonment in the house of corrections with six months to serve and the balance suspended to June 29, 2000. The conviction of leaving the scene of an accident was filed with the respondent's consent.

In violation of the requirements of S. J. C. Rule 4:01, sec; 12(8), the respondent failed to notify bar counsel of these convictions. In addition, the respondent had not notified bar counsel of his prior convictions on April 19, 1988, and January 25, 1993, for driving under the influence, and this failure also violated S. J. C. Rule 4:01, § 12(8).

On November 30, 1999, the respondent and bar counsel filed a stipulation with the Board of Bar Overseers in which the respondent admitted to the convictions and that both convictions were for serious crimes as defined by S. J. C. Rule 4:01, § 12(3). His conduct violated Canon One, Disciplinary Rule 1-102(A)(4) and (6), and Mass. R. Prof C. 8.4(b) and (h). In addition, the respondent's failure to notify bar counsel of his convictions was in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(d) and (h).

As matters in aggravation, the parties stipulated that the Board could consider the respondent's failure to report his two prior driving under convictions to bar counsel and his violation of bail conditions by failing to appear in court on June 5, 1998, and by consuming alcohol. The respondent was attempting to admit himself to an inpatient facility at the time he was scheduled to be in court. In mitigation, the parties stipulated that no person was injured in the accident which gave rise to the charge of leaving the scene and that the respondent's misconduct arose from a longstanding problem of alcoholism which the respondent was addressing during his probation.

The parties stipulated that the appropriate sanction was a suspension from the practice of law for six months and one day. On December 13, 1999, the Board of Bar Overseers voted to adopt the parties' stipulation and proposed sanction. On December 27, 1999, the Board filed an information with the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County. On December 30, 1999, the county court entered an order suspending the respondent from the practice of law for six months and one day, effective thirty days from the entry date of the order.

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

1Order of Term Suspension entered by Justice Greaney on December 30, 1999.



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