15.06 Violations of Duties Owed to the Public

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A. Failure to Maintain Personal Integrity

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 (1) barratry or the commission of any other criminal act that reflects adversely on the Respondent’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects; or (2) the
failure to maintain personal integrity in other respects, including stating or implying an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official or by improperly assisting a judge or judicial official in conduct that violates rules of judicial conduct or other law:

1. Disbarment is generally appropriate when: 

  • (a) a Respondent engages in serious criminal conduct a necessary element of which includes intentional interference with the administration of justice,false swearing, misrepresentation, fraud, extortion, misappropriation, or theft; or the sale, distribution or importation of controlled substances; or the intentional killing of another; or an attempt or conspiracy or solicitation of another to commit any of these offenses; or
  • (b) a Respondent knowingly engages in any other conduct involving the failure to maintain personal integrity and causes serious injury of potential injury to others or the legal system.

2. Suspension is generally appropriate when:

  • (a) a Respondent knowingly engages in criminal conduct that does not contain the elements listed in Guideline 15.06(A)(1) and that seriously adversely reflects on the Respondent’s fitness to practice law; or
  • (b) knowingly engages in conducting involving the failure to maintain personal integrity and causes injury or potential injury to others or the legal system.

3. Public reprimand is generally appropriate when a Respondent negligently engages in any other conduct involving the failure to maintain personal integrity and causes injury or potential injury to others or the legal system.

4. Private reprimand is generally appropriate when a Respondent negligently engages in any other conduct involving the failure to maintain personal integrity and causes little or no actual or potential injury to others or the legal system.

B. Failure to Maintain the Public Trust

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 public officials who engage in conduct that impedes the administration of justice:

1. Disbarment is generally appropriate when a Respondent in an official or governmental position knowingly misuses the position with the intent to obtain a significant benefit or advantage for himself or another, or with the intent to cause serious or potentially serious injury to a party or to the integrity of the legal process.

2. Suspension is generally appropriate when a Respondent in an official or governmental position knowingly fails to follow applicable procedures or rules, and causes injury or potential injury to a party or to the integrity of the legal process.

3. Public reprimand is generally appropriate when a Respondent in an official or governmental position negligently fails to follow applicable procedures or rules, and causes injury or potential injury to a party or to the integrity of the legal process.

4. Private reprimand is generally appropriate when a Respondent in an official or governmental position engages in an isolated instance of negligence in not following applicable procedures or rules, and causes little or no actual or potential injury to a party or to the integrity of the legal process.

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