In re Bozarth, Case Number: 26484

CourtSupreme Court of Oklahoma
Citation63 P.2d 726,178 Okla. 427,1936 OK 811
Docket NumberCase Number: 26484
PartiesIn re BOZARTH
Decision Date15 December 1936

1936 OK 811
63 P.2d 726
178 Okla. 427


Case Number: 26484

Supreme Court of Oklahoma

Decided: December 15, 1936


¶0 1. ATTORNEY AND CLIENT - Disbarment Proceedings - Power and Duty of Supreme Court.

It rests exclusively with the Supreme Court of this state "to determine who is qualified to become one of its officers, as an attorney and counselor, and for what cause he ought to be removed. The power, however, is not an arbitrary and despotic one, to be exercised at the pleasure of the court, or from passion, prejudice, or personal hostility; but it is the duty of the court to exercise and regulate it by a sound and just judicial discretion, whereby the rights and independence of the bar may be as scrupulously guarded and maintained by the court as the rights and dignity of the court itself." Ex parte Secombe, 19 How. 9, 15 L.Ed. 565.

2. SAME - Wrongful Conduct of Attorney Justifying Disbarment Regardless of Pardon.

A fair private and professional character is essential to membership in the bar, and such prerequisite qualifications must follow the personality of one who continues to be a member of the bar, and their loss by wrongful personal and professional conduct furnishes adequate reason for taking away the privilege of such membership in the bar and pardon will not elude it.

3. SAME - Power of Supreme Court as to Disbarment not to Be Nullified by Issuance of Executive Pardon.

It rests exclusively with this court to pass upon the ultimate fitness of those who may enjoy the privilege of continuing the practice of the profession of law, and the issuance of an executive pardon cannot encroach upon the court's inherent power over attorneys at law in reference to their removal as members of the bar.

4. SAME - Conduct of Respondent Held to Justify Disbarment Notwithstanding Pardon by Governor.

Record examined: Respondent disbarred: Respondent's name stricken off the rolls of attorneys.

Proceeding to review an order of the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Oklahoma recommending disbarment of Mark L. Bozarth. Respondent disbarred.

W.C. Alley, George Jennings, and L.O. Lytle, for petitioner.

Frank G. Anderson and V.P. Crowe, for the State Bar.


¶1 This is a disbarment proceeding.

¶2 Petitioner, on December 15, 1933, was convicted in the district court of Oklahoma county of a felony on the charge of obtaining property under false pretenses and was sentenced to pay a fine of $500. An appeal was thereafter perfected to the Criminal Court of Appeals, and that court, on October 12, 1934, affirmed the judgment rendered by the district court. Bozarth v. State, 56 Okla. Cr. 424, 41 P.2d 924. Thereafter, on November 24, 1934, there was filed by the Board of Governors of the State Bar an accusation against petitioner for disbarment by reason of said conviction. Petitioner responded and subsequently filed an amended response setting forth the fact that the Honorable E.W. Marland, Governor of the State of Oklahoma, on March 11, 1935, issued and granted to petitioner a full and free pardon of the offenses charged in said accusation.

¶3 Petitioner, at the hearing, introduced testimony of a number of outstanding members of the State Bar, each of whom testified in substance that petitioner's morality and general fitness as a practitioner of the law was good. It was stipulated in said hearing that a number of other witnesses, whose names were set forth, if called and sworn, would testify that petitioner possessed a good general reputation, good moral character, and a general fitness as a practitioner of the law. The Board of Governors recommended to this court that petitioner be disbarred and that his name be stricken off the rolls of the members of the bar of this state.

¶4 We do not discuss the felony charge. We confine the opinion to the controlling question of whether the pardon issued by the Governor is a full and complete defense to this proceeding. Counsel for petitioner contends that such a pardon blots out of existence the guilt of petitioner in the eyes of the law as an offender so that he may be considered as innocent as if the offense had never been committed; and that the issuance of such a pardon automatically strips this court of the power and authority to revoke petitioner's license as an attorney at law.

¶5 Sir William Blackstone, in his Commentaries on the laws of England, vol. 3, chap. 3, p. 23, says:

"For the more speedy, universal, and impartial administration of justice between subject and subject, the law hath appointed a prodigious variety of courts, some with a more limited, others with a more extensive jurisdiction; some constituted to inquire only, others to hear and determine; some to determine in the first instance, others upon appeal and by way of review. * * *"

"* * * No man can practice as an attorney in any of those courts, but such as is admitted and sworn an attorney of that particular court. * * *"

"* * * So early as the statute 4 Hen. IV. c. 18. It was enacted, that attorneys should be examined by the judges, and none admited but such as was virtuous, learned and sworn to duty. * * *"

"* * * For it is the peculiar business of the court of King's Bench, to superintend all other inferior tribunals, and therein to enforce the due exercise of those judicial or ministerial powers, with which the crown or Legislature have invested them; and this, not only by restraining their excesses, but also by quickening their negligence, and obviating their denial of justice. * * *"

¶6 In the case of In re Burr, 9 Wheat. 529, the Supreme Court of the United States considered the regularity of the proceedings of the circuit court for the District of Columbia in suspending Mr. Burr from practice for one year.

¶7 Mr. Chief...

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10 cases
  • Application of Kaufman, 7528
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • 16 Mayo 1949
    ...judiciary has power beyond the statutes, In re Cox, 1948, 164 Kan. 160, 188 P.2d 652, at pages 657-8; In re Bozarth, 1936, 178 Okl. 427, 63 P.2d 726. Ex parte Steckler, 179 La. 410, 154 So. 41, at page 44, reviewed and discussed at length the authorities pro and con as to the scope and powe......
  • R. J. Edwards, Inc. v. Hert, s. 40338
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 28 Noviembre 1972
    ...power, but, whenever a proper case has been made out, it is its duty to exercise it.' In the matter entitled In re Bozarth, 178 Okl. 427, 63 P.2d 726 (1937), we denied effect to an executive pardon as a means of thwarting our disbarment of a lawyer and judge who had been convicted of obtain......
  • In The Matter of The Application of Sylvia McCormick SPILMAN for Expungement v. Okla. Bar Ass'n, 108
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 20 Octubre 2010
    ...but the issuance of a Pardon does not encroach upon the Court's inherent power over lawyer disciplinary proceedings. In re Bozarth, 1936 OK 811, 63 P.2d 726, 730. 37 We thus decline to create a procedure or rule for disciplinary proceedings that would mirror 22 O.S. §§ 18 and 19 and Supreme......
  • Spilman v. Okla. Bar Ass'n, Case Number: 108544
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 5 Octubre 2010
    ...but the issuance of a Pardon does not encroach upon the Court's inherent power over lawyer disciplinary proceedings. In re Bozarth, 1936 OK 811, 63 P.2d 726, 730.37 We thus decline to create a procedure or rule for disciplinary proceedings that would mirror 22 O.S. 18 and 19 and Supreme Cou......
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