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Court of Appeals of Maryland
May 7, 2015, Argued; June 23, 2015, Filed
AG No. 5, September Term, 2014
[*416] [**1015] Opinion by McDonald, J.
] A lawyer must, at a minimum, be trustworthy. One who wants to be a lawyer in Maryland must disclose to the State Board of Law Examiners ("SBLE") and this Court information that bears on that trait. Failure to satisfy [***2] those requirements may prevent admission to the bar or, when discovered, result in disbarment.
We have disbarred the newly-admitted lawyer who is the respondent in this disciplinary proceeding and now set forth the reasons why we took that action. To explain our decision, we need not catalog precisely what past indiscretions an applicant must recall and reveal in a bar application. It suffices to say that an applicant who is engaged in ongoing criminal conduct while the application is pending must disclose it to SBLE and this Court. And it is self evident that an applicant who, as a landlord, uses hidden cameras to secretly view and record his tenants in their private bedrooms in intimate moments, without their knowledge or consent, is not trustworthy.
A. Procedural Context
On April 12, 2014, the Attorney Grievance Commission ("Commission") charged Dennis Alan Van Dusen with violating several provisions of the Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct ("MLRPC") arising out of Mr. Van Dusen's criminal conduct while his application for admission to the Maryland Bar was pending. Specifically, the Commission charged Mr. Van Dusen with violating MLRPC 3.3(a) (candor toward [***3] the tribunal), 8.1(a) and (b) (material false statements [*417] and deliberate omissions in bar admission matters), and 8.4(a), (b), (c), and (d) (misconduct).
Pursuant to Maryland Rule 16-752(a), this Court designated Judge Anne K. Albright of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County to conduct a hearing concerning the alleged violations and to provide findings of fact and recommended conclusions of law. In January 2015, after holding an evidentiary hearing at which Mr. Van Dusen testified and was represented by counsel, the hearing judge issued her findings of fact and conclusions of law. The hearing judge concluded that Mr. Van Dusen violated MLRPC 8.1(a) and (b), and MLRPC 8.4(a), (b), (c), and (d), but that the Commission did not prove by clear and convincing evidence that Mr. Van Dusen violated MLRPC 3.3(a).
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
443 Md. 413 *; 116 A.3d 1013 **; 2015 Md. LEXIS 473 ***
ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMMISSION OF MARYLAND v. DENNIS ALAN VAN DUSEN
Prior History: [***1] Circuit Court for Montgomery County. Case No. 29833-M. Anne K. Albright, JUDGE.
Atty. Griev. Comm'n of Md. v. Van Dusen, 442 Md. 736, 114 A.3d 706, 2015 Md. LEXIS 291 (May 8, 2015)
tenants, criminal conduct, disbarment, camera, false statement, recording, bedroom, fitness to practice law, bar application, recommended, disclose, application for admission, hidden camera, deliberate, misconduct, Disorder, admission to the bar, material information, fail to disclose, material fact, trustworthiness, knowingly, violating, criminal activity, smoke detector, surreptitious, tribunal, charges, conceal, factors
Legal Ethics, Sanctions, Disbarments, Practice Qualifications, Disciplinary Proceedings, Appeals, Hearings, Professional Conduct, Tribunals, Governments, Courts, Rule Application & Interpretation, Illegal Conduct, Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Procedural Due Process, Self-Incrimination Privilege, General Overview