In re Morris, No. A12–0943.

CourtSupreme Court of Minnesota (US)
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM.
Citation827 N.W.2d 427
PartiesIn re Petition for DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST William John MORRIS, Jr., a Minnesota Attorney, Registration No. 230637.
Docket NumberNo. A12–0943.
Decision Date13 March 2013

827 N.W.2d 427

In re Petition for DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST William John MORRIS, Jr., a Minnesota Attorney, Registration No. 230637.

No. A12–0943.

Supreme Court of Minnesota.

March 13, 2013.


[827 N.W.2d 428]



Syllabus by the Court

Disbarment is the appropriate disciplinary sanction for an attorney convicted of 12 felony counts for his participation in a fraudulent scheme that resulted in the receipt of over $3.5 million.


Martin A. Cole, Director, Timothy M. Burke, Senior Assistant Director, Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, Saint Paul, MN, for petitioner.

William John Morris, Jr., Duluth, MN, pro se.


OPINION

PER CURIAM.

On June 1, 2012, the Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility filed a petition under Rules 10(c) and 12(a) of the Rules on Lawyers Professional Responsibility (RLPR) for disciplinary action against William John Morris, Jr. The petition alleges that Morris violated Rules 8.4(b) and (c) of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct based on his federal convictions, including mail fraud, wire fraud, aiding and abetting wire fraud, and subscribing a false tax return. Morris did not respond to the petition, and by order dated July 5, 2012, we deemed the allegations in the petition admitted pursuant to Rule 13(b), RLPR. The Director recommends that Morris be disbarred. We agree.

Morris was admitted to practice law in Minnesota on October 23, 1992, but has been suspended since July 1, 2006, for non-payment of lawyer registration fees. In February 2010, after a three-week jury trial, Morris was found guilty and convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 (2006), five counts of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343 (2006), five counts of mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341 (2006), and one count of making and subscribing a false tax return in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1) (2006). See United States v. Louper–Morris, 672 F.3d 539, 553–54 (8th Cir.2012). Morris was sentenced to 132 months in prison. Id. at 554. The facts and circumstances underlying Morris's convictions are set out in some detail in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit opinion affirming his convictions and will not be repeated here in any detail. See id. at 540–54.

In approximately 1996, Morris and his mother formed the corporation CyberStudy 101 (CyberStudy) to market an educational software program. Id. at 548. CyberStudy marketed the program to customers in primarily low-income, African American, Hmong, and Somali communities. Id. at...

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3 practice notes
  • In re Strunk, A19-0917
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 1 July 2020
    ...we have previously imposed in similar cases. The presumptive sanction for a lawyer convicted of a felony is disbarment. In re Morris , 827 N.W.2d 427, 429 (Minn. 2013). We will not automatically disbar attorneys convicted of felonies, however, and will consider the circumstances surrounding......
  • In re Butler, A20-0918
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 9 June 2021
    ...We have specifically and consistently applied Rule 19(a), RLPR, when a lawyer is convicted of tax evasion. See, e.g. , In re Morris , 827 N.W.2d 427, 429 (Minn. 2013) ; In re Peterson , 718 N.W.2d 849, 855, 859 (Minn. 2006) ; In re Barta , 461 N.W.2d 382, 383 (Minn. 1990). Minnesota attorne......
  • McDonough v. State, No. A12–0640.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 13 March 2013
    ...looked into the shooter's eyes. We conclude that the allegations in the January 2012 amendment were subject to summary dismissal under [827 N.W.2d 427]Minn.Stat. § 590.04, subd. 1, because, even if proven, Eddie's allegations are legally insufficient to entitle McDonough to the relief reque......
3 cases
  • In re Strunk, A19-0917
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 1 July 2020
    ...we have previously imposed in similar cases. The presumptive sanction for a lawyer convicted of a felony is disbarment. In re Morris , 827 N.W.2d 427, 429 (Minn. 2013). We will not automatically disbar attorneys convicted of felonies, however, and will consider the circumstances surrounding......
  • In re Butler, A20-0918
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 9 June 2021
    ...We have specifically and consistently applied Rule 19(a), RLPR, when a lawyer is convicted of tax evasion. See, e.g. , In re Morris , 827 N.W.2d 427, 429 (Minn. 2013) ; In re Peterson , 718 N.W.2d 849, 855, 859 (Minn. 2006) ; In re Barta , 461 N.W.2d 382, 383 (Minn. 1990). Minnesota attorne......
  • McDonough v. State, No. A12–0640.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 13 March 2013
    ...looked into the shooter's eyes. We conclude that the allegations in the January 2012 amendment were subject to summary dismissal under [827 N.W.2d 427]Minn.Stat. § 590.04, subd. 1, because, even if proven, Eddie's allegations are legally insufficient to entitle McDonough to the relief reque......

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