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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Public Reprimand No. 2007-22


Order (public reprimand) entered by the Board August 29, 2007.


The respondent received a public reprimand for being adjudicated in contempt of a court order during post-divorce proceedings in his personal divorce.

On March 25, 2004, a Probate and Family Court judge entered a judgment of divorce that required the respondent to pay $195 each week for child support and $5000 towards his wife’s legal fees. The respondent did not pay the legal fees and made only partial weekly payments of the child support.

On September 29, 2004, the respondent’s former wife filed a complaint for contempt against the respondent. By December 6, 2004, the day of the hearing, the respondent was $2,434.19 in arrears on his child support obligation and had not paid any of the attorney’s fees. The court found the respondent guilty of contempt for willfully neglecting and refusing to pay child support in the amount of $2434.19 and counsel fees in the amount of $5,000.

The court ordered the respondent committed to the county jail for six months or until he purged himself of his contempt by paying $9,444.19, which included the unpaid child support, the attorney’s fees, and an additional $2,010 for attorney’s fees the respondent’s former wife expended pursuing the complaint for contempt. The respondent purged himself of contempt the following day.

The respondent’s willful failure without good cause to abide by the judgment of divorce, resulting in an adjudication of contempt, violated Mass. R. Prof. C., Rule 3.4(c) (a lawyer shall not knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal) and 8.4(d) (a lawyer shall not engage in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice) and (h) (a lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on fitness to practice law).

The matter came before the Board of Bar Overseers on the parties’ stipulation of facts and rule violations and an agreed recommendation for discipline by public reprimand. On August 13, 2007, the Board voted to accept the parties’ stipulation and to impose a public reprimand.

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

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