• U.S. District Court
  • U.S. District Court
  • 3:05gp18
  • Dec 04 2012 (Date Decided)
  • Chatigny, J.

A lawyer who is suspended from the practice of law in Superior Court may also receive a reciprocal suspension from the District Court, even if the Superior Court wrongly concluded the lawyer violated Rule 1.1. The Superior Court found that in connection with a speeding ticket Attorney Stephen Williams filed a motion for mandamus, which was not proper, because a mandamus must be brought by writ, summons and complaint, or an order to show cause. Pursuing the motion for mandamus, ruled the Superior Court, was unnecessary, vexing and burdensome. It held that Williams did not comprehend the proper procedure. The motion for mandamus and letters that Williams wrote to the deputy clerk and the assistant state's attorney allegedly were abusive of process. The Superior Court found that Williams was not competent, because he pursued a meritless mandamus; he engaged in conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal, when he "intimidated" a deputy clerk; he used methods intended to harass and he engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rules 1.1, 3.5, 4.4 and 8.4(4). The Superior Court suspended Williams. In ruling whether to order reciprocal discipline, the District Court rejected Williams' claim that the state court violated his due-process rights. The Superior Court granted a continuance, to permit Williams to obtain counsel. Williams received sufficient notice to prepare a defense. Williams was not asked to testify about issues that could result in criminal prosecution. The District Court rejected his claim he was required to be a witness in his own criminal trial, in violation of the Fifth Amendment. Rule 1.1 may not have been violated, because the rule only applies when a lawyer represents someone else. There was evidence to support the Rule 3.5 violation, for allegedly writing a letter to a court clerk that was intended to disrupt the tribunal, and the Rule 4.4 violation, for alleged use of methods to harass. The District Court did not consider Williams' claim that Rule 8.4(4) was void for vagueness. Rule 8.4(4) overlapped with Rule 3.5 and was redundant. The District Court ordered reciprocal discipline and suspended Williams.