Lawyer Appeals Disciplinary Case That Started With A Speeding Ticket
Williams further argued that the courts in New York and the District of Columbia should not have automatically suspended his license just because Connecticut did. He argues that he should have been allowed to argue his case in each jurisdiction. "It violates due process, because you aren't permitted to be heard in the reciprocal jurisdictions," Williams said.
He asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on that issue, but the high court refused to take up the case. Last year, U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny ordered Williams suspended from practice in federal court for a period of six months. It's that decision that Williams most recently appealed to the Second Circuit.
Steven Seligman, an attorney in Hartford who represents lawyers in disciplinary cases, looked over the appeal briefs filed by Williams. Although he couldn't form an opinion on their legal merits, Seligman said the arguments raise some interesting questions about reciprocal discipline.
"Mr. Williams appears to be saying that these disciplinary decisions should not be rubber stamped, that there ought to be someone scrutinizing these decisions," said Seligman. "It's an interesting claim."
What is most astonishing to Dubois is the fact that the whole dispute started over a speeding ticket. It takes "a lot of principle" to fight such a case for so long, Dubois said.
But Williams said his battle to get his law license reinstated in three jurisdictions and federal court isn't driven by anything idealistic. "I wish I could tell you that I was pursuing some great noble cause but that just isn't so," he said. "At first, I simply was trying to get my Connecticut driving privileges reinstated and avoid having to pay the $125 reinstatement fee. But I realized that I really had no choice but to see this through to its conclusion."