15.08 Prior Discipline Orders

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Absent aggravating or mitigating circumstances, and upon application of the factors set out in Rule 15.02, the following sanctions are generally appropriate in cases involving prior discipline.

1. Disbarment is generally appropriate when a Respondent:

  • (a) intentionally or knowingly violates the terms of a prior disciplinary order and such violation causes injury or potential injury to a client, the public, the legal system, or the profession; or
  • (b) has been suspended for the same or similar misconduct, and intentionally or knowingly engages in further similar acts of misconduct that cause injury or potential injury to a client, the public, the legal system, or the profession.

2. Suspension is generally appropriate when a Respondent has been reprimanded for the same or similar misconduct and engages in further similar acts of misconduct that cause injury or potential injury to a client, the public, the legal system, or the profession.

3. Public reprimand is generally appropriate when a Respondent:

  • (a) negligently violates the terms of a prior disciplinary order and such violation causes injury or potential injury to a client, the public, the legal system, or the profession; or
  • (b) has received a private reprimand for the same or similar misconduct and engages in further similar acts of misconduct that cause injury or potential injury to a client, the public, the legal system, or the profession.

4. A private reprimand is generally not an appropriate sanction when a Respondent violates the terms of a prior disciplinary order or when a Respondent has engaged in the same or similar misconduct in the past.

5. A private reprimand should not be utilized when a Respondent:

  • (a) has received a private reprimand within the preceding five-year period for a violation of the same disciplinary rule; or
  • (b) has engaged in misconduct involving theft, misapplication of fiduciary property, or the failure to return, after demand, a clearly unearned fee; or
  • (c) has engaged in misconduct involving the failure of a prosecutor to make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigate the offense.

6. A private reprimand is not an available sanction in a Disciplinary Action.

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