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Supreme Court of Delaware
May 1, 2013, Submitted; May 23, 2013, Decided; June 11, 2013, Reissued1
No. 125, 2013
This 23rd day of May 2013, it appears to the Court that the Board on Professional Responsibility ("Board") has filed a March 18, 2013 Report on this matter pursuant to Rule 9(d) of the Delaware Lawyers' Rules of Disciplinary Procedure (the "Procedural Rules"). The Office of Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC") filed objections to the Board Report, and Respondent filed a response to the ODC's Objections. The Court has reviewed the matter pursuant to Rule 9(e) of the Procedural Rules and concludes that the Board's Report should be approved.
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that the Report filed by the Board on Professional Responsibility on March 18, 2013 is hereby APPROVED, and the Petition for Discipline is DENIED;
1. In its Petition for Discipline, the ODC alleged that in February 2012, Respondent was involved in a domestic incident in public during which he grabbed his minor daughter by her ponytail, held her head at an angle, and refused to let her go.3 Respondent took that action to prevent his troubled, minor daughter from again attempting to run away from home, in the context of an intensely [*2] stressful family situation. For that conduct, the Respondent was convicted of Offensive Touching, which is an unclassified misdemeanor, in the Family Court. This case, by its nature and in these specific circumstances, should not have warranted intervention by the ODC.
2. The ODC nonetheless charged the Respondent with having violated Rules 8.4(b) and 8.4(d) of the Delaware Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct (the "Rules"). Rule 8.4(b) states that "[i]t is professional misconduct for a lawyer to . . . commit a criminal act that [*3] reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects." Rule 8.4(d) provides that "[i]t is professional misconduct for a lawyer to . . . engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice."
3. A hearing panel of the Board found unanimously that the ODC had not met its burden of establishing, by clear and convincing evidence, that Respondent had violated either Rule. In its Report, the Board found "no principled basis—let alone clear and convincing evidence—to support the conclusion" that Respondent had violated Rule 8.4(b). The Board further found, "for the same reasons," that Respondent had not violated Rule 8.4(d). Consequently, the Board recommended that the Petition be denied.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2013 Del. LEXIS 297 *; 67 A.3d 1023; 2013 WL 3017362
In the Matter of a Member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware: ERIC MICHAELS,2 Respondent.
Notice: PUBLISHED IN TABLE FORMAT IN THE ATLANTIC REPORTER.
Prior History: [*1] Board Case No. 2012-0079-B.
Touching, Discipline, administration of justice, fitness to practice law, professional misconduct, factual circumstances, criminal conviction, minor daughter, criminal act, trustworthiness, prejudicial, convincing, convicted, reflects, honesty
Legal Ethics, Professional Conduct, Illegal Conduct, Sanctions, Disciplinary Proceedings, Appeals, General Overview, Criminal Law & Procedure, Children & Minors, Child Abuse, Elements, Assault & Battery, Simple Offenses