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In re Turner

December 28, 2006

IN RE JOHN A. TURNER, JR., PETITIONER. A MEMBER OF THE BAR OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT OF APPEALS. (BAR REGISTRATION NO. 193920).


Per curiam.

On Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility (BDN 127-05)

Submitted: December 1, 2006

Before RUIZ and GLICKMAN, Associate Judges, and SCHWELB, Senior Judge.

Petitioner John A. Turner, Jr., an attorney disbarred by this Court in 1993 for intentional misappropriation of client funds, has applied for reinstatement to the District of Columbia Bar pursuant to D.C. Bar Rule XI, § 16 (d). The application has been considered by a Hearing Committee of the Board on Professional Responsibility and by the Board itself. Both the Hearing Committee and the Board have concluded that petitioner is rehabilitated and currently fit to practice law, and they recommend that petitioner be reinstated, subject to certain specified conditions. See D.C. Bar Rule XI, § 16 (f). Bar Counsel endorsed petitioner's application before the Hearing Committee and has taken no exception to the recommendations in favor of reinstatement with conditions.

The misconduct that led to petitioner's disbarrment was quite serious, and it required sustained and strenuous efforts on his part to justify the recommendations in his favor. To gain reinstatement, a petitioner "must establish by clear and convincing evidence that (1) he has the 'moral qualifications, competency, and learning in law required for readmission,' and (2) his resumption of the practice of law 'will not be detrimental to the integrity and standing of the Bar, or the administration of justice, or subversive to the public interest.'" In re Reynolds, 867 A.2d 977, 978 (D.C. 2005) (quoting D.C. Bar R. XI, § 16 (d)). See also In re Roundtree, 503 A.2d 1215, 1217 (D.C. 1985). "[T]he ultimate decision on whether an attorney is reinstated is ours alone." Roundtree, 503 A.2d at 1217. However, in making that decision, we do attach "great weight" to the Board's positive recommendation, id., especially when Bar Counsel supports it. See Reynolds, 867 A.2d at 978; In re Patkus, 841 A.2d 1268, 1269 (D.C. 2004); In re Roxborough, 775 A.2d 1063, 1064 (D.C. 2001). We are mindful that "caution should be exercised in ordering reinstatement where, as in this case, substantial amounts in restitution remain to be paid." Roxborough, 775 A.2d at 1065. Nonetheless, for the reasons persuasively set forth in the Board's report, which we attach to this opinion, we are satisfied that petitioner has met his heavy burden of proof. Accordingly, petitioner John A. Turner, Jr., is hereby reinstated to the Bar of the District of Columbia, effective immediately, subject to the conditions set forth in the Board's report.

So ordered.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT OF APPEALS BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

Prior Proceedings: Petitioner. No. 93-SP-:1348, Bar Docket No. 144-91 and 145-91 : (D.C. Nov. 3, 1993) (Ferren, J., Sullivan, J., and Belson, J.)

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

This matter comes before the Board on Professional Responsibility (the "Board") on a petition for reinstatement filed pursuant to Board Rule 9.1 and D.C. Bar R. XI, § 16(d). The petition was considered by Hearing Committee Number Ten (the "Committee"), which recommended that Petitioner be reinstated, subject to certain conditions. Bar Counsel does not object to the Committee's recommendation. The Board concurs that Petitioner has demonstrated his fitness to practice and should be reinstated to the practice of law.

We adopt all the Hearing Committee's factual findings and summarize them below in our discussion of the reinstatement criteria.

I. Procedural History

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals (the "Court") issued an Order disbarring Petitioner on consent on November 3, 1993. The underlying misconduct involved the misappropriation of funds from the estates of two wards for whom Petitioner had been appointed as guardian.

At the hearing, Bar Counsel and Petitioner presented documentary and testimonial evidence. The witnesses included Petitioner and others who testified, among other things, as to Petitioner's remorse and acceptance of responsibility for his conduct, as well as one of the wards from whom Petitioner misappropriated funds. Documentary evidence also was presented reflecting Petitioner's activities ...


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