On Findings and Recommendations of the Committee on Admissions
Before Kern, Newman, and Belson, Senior Judges. Opinion for the court by Senior Judge Belson. Dissenting opinion by Senior Judge Newman.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Belson
BELSON, Senior Judge: For the second time, Stephen G. Polin seeks admission to the bar of the District of Columbia. Once again the Committee on Admissions submits a favorable recommendation.
When we considered Polin's first application, we ordered him to show cause why it should not be denied because of serious criminal misconduct. Polin had been convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, a felony, in December of 1984, had been sentenced to a period of imprisonment, and had been released from a halfway house in January of 1987. *fn1 On August 27, 1991, this court rejected Polin's first application, stating:
Although Polin has demonstrated persuasively that he has made outstanding progress toward rehabilitation, we conclude that under all the circumstances, including in particular the relatively short period of time that has passed since his conviction for conspiracy to distribute cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 and his subsequent release from a halfway house in January of 1987, he has failed to establish that he is so fully rehabilitated that he can be deemed at this time to have the good moral character required for admission to the bar. Therefore, we deny Polin's application for admission.
In re Polin, supra note 1, 596 A.2d 50 at 51. In our opinion, we also observed that the Committee on Admissions should have arranged an independent investigation into Polin's behavior (citing In re Manville (Manville I), 494 A.2d 1289, 1294 (D.C. 1985)).
After our opinion issued, Polin reapplied for admission and again took and passed the District of Columbia bar examination. Thereafter, the Committee on Admissions conducted a thorough examination of Polin's moral character, considered the results of a private investigation it arranged, and now tenders a strong and unanimous recommendation that Polin be admitted to the bar. We adopt the recommendation of the Committee, and append it to this opinion.
We emphasize, as we pointed out in connection with Polin's first application, that we cannot set a fixed number of years of good behavior as an essential part of proof of the requisite rehabilitation following conviction of a serious crime. Polin, supra, 596 A.2d at 53. Rather, we must be persuaded that the duration and quality of an applicant's good behavior suffices to establish present good moral character. See id.
In the case of this applicant, the period of rehabilitation is shorter than the periods of rehabilitation exhibited by the three applicants who were considered in In re Manville (Manville II), 538 A.2d 1128 (D.C. 1988) (en banc). There, each applicant had led an exemplary life for at least eleven years, as distinguished from the six and one-half years of such behavior that Polin has accomplished. But we must take into account the extraordinary nature of Polin's accomplishments and the remarkably affirmative results of the investigation by the Committee and its independent investigator. Having done so, we conclude that the time has been reached in this particular case when no purpose would be served by requiring a more extended demonstration of worthiness for admission. See Manville II, supra, 538 A.2d at 1132 (citing Manville I, 494 A.2d at 1295 & nn. 9-10) (determination of the necessary good moral character is a case-by-case process). Considering the merits discussed above and the entirety of Polin's conduct as developed in the record in light of the factors bearing upon good moral character enumerated in Manville I, supra, 494 A.2d at 1296-97, we accept and adopt the appended recommendation of the Committee on Admissions, and grant Polin's application for admission to the bar of the District of Columbia.
NEWMAN, Senior Judge, Dissenting: I continue to adhere to my views expressed in my Dissent in In re Manville (Manville II), 538 A.2d 1128, 1138 (D.C. 1988) (en banc).
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTEE ...