442 Mass. 1037 (2004), SJC-09131, In re Daniels
|Citation:||442 Mass. 1037, 817 N.E.2d 333|
|Party Name:||In The Matter of Alfred C.W. Daniels.|
|Case Date:||November 05, 2004|
|Court:||Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts|
Wayne S. Henderson for the respondent.
Constance V. Vecchione, Assistant Bar Counsel.
Alfred Daniels seeks reinstatement to the bar following expiration of a three-year suspension imposed on him effective March 31, 1998. His suspension arose not from the practice of law but from financial difficulties encountered by an aerospace company over which he assumed management control in the early 1980's. In an effort to keep the company operating, Daniels ran afoul of the State's wage laws and Federal Employment Retirement Income Security Act requirements. The company eventually failed. Daniels lost his home and, as the responsible corporate officer, pleaded guilty to criminal charges in State and Federal courts. As a result of these convictions, he also assumed various restitution obligations, and was suspended from the bar. Circumstances presented to the Board of Bar Overseers (board) at the time of the suspension mitigated against a more severe sanction.
Upon the filing of his petition for reinstatement, a hearing panel of the board received testimony from Daniels and many other witnesses regarding his good character, legal competence, and the contributions made to his community during the period of suspension. In October, 2002, the panel recommended that Daniels be reinstated.
The hearing was reopened and evidence was presented that in late October, 2002, after the panel had recommended his reinstatement, Daniels had acceded to the urgent request of a friend of twenty years to assist him in the preparation of a family trust prior to the friend being admitted to a hospital for emergency surgery.
The panel declined to decide whether Daniels had engaged in the "practice of law," and instead simply concluded that "[he] should have realized that someone might interpret it as such." In light of this "lapse...
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