On Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility
Before Ferren, Terry, and Sullivan, Associate Judges.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Terry
TERRY, Associate Judge: In this reciprocal discipline case, the Board on Professional Responsibility ("the Board") has recommended that respondent's license to practice law in the District of Columbia be revoked to correspond with his disbarrment in New York. We accept the Board's recommendation and order respondent disbarred in the District of Columbia.
Respondent Garner was admitted to the New York Bar in 1961 and, at some time thereafter, to the District of Columbia Bar as well. In 1981 the New York authorities began a disciplinary proceeding against him based on his alleged misconduct in an adoption case in California, in which he represented a New York couple seeking to adopt a California child. Eventually a New York court found Mr. Garner guilty of two charges of dishonesty and misrepresentation and, in October 1984, ordered him suspended from the practice of law in New York for one year. This court, in turn, suspended him for six months from the practice of law in the District of Columbia in a reciprocal disciplinary proceeding. *fn1
While the New York proceedings were under way, Mr. Garner became involved in the organization of a bank to be located in Anaheim, California. In June 1983 he filed a document with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency of the United States (OCC) in connection with his application for approval as an organizer and director of the proposed bank. That document, a "Confidential Biographical and Financial Report" in the form of a questionnaire, required him to provide information
regarding each disciplinary proceeding or action of which you are, or have been the subject, with respect to any professional license you hold or have held. Examples: Disbarment, censure of conduct, revocation of license, etc.
In the space below this text were three columns to be filled out, headed "Name of Authority," "Nature of Proceedings," and "Disposition and Date." Garner's entire answer, however, was as follows:
NONE -- except for nominal fee dispute inquiries and a 1975 question of whether or not there was a violation of a compact law, all of which have resulted in no action.
In September 1984 Mr. Garner submitted a second document to the OCC. In response to the same question, he simply wrote "None." In neither of these documents did he reveal to the OCC the pendency of the New York disciplinary proceedings against him. *fn2
On November 12, 1985, a representative of the OCC contacted the Office of the Grievance Committee of the New York Bar and reported Garner's filing of the two false statements with the OCC. The Grievance Committee opened an investigation and in due course determined that his misconduct violated Disciplinary Rules 1-102 (A)(4) (misrepresentation and dishonesty) and 1-102 (A)(6) (fitness to practice law). The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, Second Division, ordered him disbarred. In re Garner, 176 A.D.2d 26, 580 N.Y.S.2d 59, appeal dismissed, 80 N.Y.2d 917, 602 N.E.2d 1118, 589 N.Y.S.2d 302 (1992), cert. denied, 122 L. Ed. 2d 660, 113 S. Ct. 1263 (1993). The order of disbarrment was filed with this court by District of Columbia Bar Counsel, and on April 30, 1992, we entered an order suspending Garner from the practice of law in the District of Columbia under D.C. Bar Rule XI, § 11 (d). *fn3 This court then directed the Board on Professional Responsibility to recommend whether reciprocal discipline should be imposed. *fn4
The Board, after further proceedings, concluded that Garner had failed to show that any exception to reciprocal discipline was warranted under Rule XI, § 11 (c), and recommended reciprocal disbarment. The matter is now before us for a ruling on the Board's recommendation.
Garner argues that this court should not impose reciprocal discipline because the New York proceeding that resulted in his disbarrment was lacking in due process. Additionally, Garner maintains that disbarrment would constitute substantially different discipline from that which would be imposed if ...