A Member of the Bar of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. On Report of the Board on Professional Responsibility
Before Wagner, Chief Judge, and Ferren and Steadman, Associate Judges.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam
PER CURIAM: In this disciplinary proceeding, the Board on Professional Responsibility found that respondent, Robert B. Wilkins, Jr., had engaged in conduct which violated two disciplinary rules, DR 1-102(A)(4)(conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit and/or misrepresentation) and DR 1-102(A)(5)(conduct prejudicial to the administration of Justice). Another issue before the Board was whether respondent's conduct, which resulted in his conviction of the misdemeanor offense of obstructing Justice (Va. Code § 18.2-460) in the Commonwealth of Virginia, involved moral turpitude. The Board agreed with the Hearing Committee which determined that the offense did not involve moral turpitude in light of the facts established by the evidence. Neither respondent nor Bar Counsel filed exceptions to the Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility. Substantially for the reasons set forth in the Board's report, we adopt its recommendation. Its report is reproduced at the end of this opinion.
Accordingly, it is hereby ordered that respondent, Robert B. Wilkins, Jr., be suspended from the practice of law in the District of Columbia for a period of six months, nunc pro tunc, to the date on which he filed an affidavit in compliance with D.C. Bar Rule XI, § 14 (f). *fn1
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT OF APPEALS BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
In the Matter of: ROBERT B. WILKINS, Respondent.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
This matter is before the Board for consideration of the report issued by Hearing Committee No. 7, dated August 7, 1993. The major issue presented is whether the actions surrounding a criminal offense for which Respondent was convicted in the state courts of Virginia involved "moral turpitude," as that term is used in DR 1-102(A)(4) and D.C. Code § 11-2053(a). The Hearing Committee did not find moral turpitude, but found other violations of the disciplinary rules. The Committee recommended a six-month suspension.
Bar Counsel takes exception to the Hearing Committee's findings and Conclusions, and urges: (1) that we find that Respondent's actions did involve moral turpitude; and (2) that, even if we do not find moral turpitude, we should recommend to the Court a one-year suspension and require a showing of fitness for readmission for the other violations found. Respondent urges that we impose "at most a disciplinary reprimand in this case." The Board follows the recommendation of the Hearing Committee.
This proceeding started in January, 1990, when Respondent, a member of the District of Columbia Bar, was given a speeding ticket by Fairfax County police. Respondent did not pay the ticket; instead, he tried to "beat" the ticket by stating or implying at a March, 1990, hearing in traffic court that his excessive speed was justified by "undercover work" he was then doing for the U.S. Customs Service. Respondent had previously worked for that agency, and he had with him at the hearing some outdated identification documents issued by that agency.
Although there is considerable dispute as to precisely what Respondent said in traffic court about why he was speeding, as well as to whom and when he said it, this much is clear: (a) Respondent was successful in having the Court dismiss the speeding charge; (b) an investigation was then undertaken by the Virginia police, which resulted in Respondent being charged with perjury, and (c) on August 14, 1990, to avoid trial on the perjury charges, Respondent pleaded ...