On Report and Recommendation of Ad Hoc Hearing Committee Approving Petition for Negotiated Discipline (BDN 340-07, 396-07, 443-07, 004-08, 169-09, 286-09, and 340-09)
Before FISHER and THOMPSON, Associate Judges, and NEWMAN, Senior Judge.
Bar Counsel received seven complaints against the respondent, James Beane, Jr., between 2007 and 2009, that resulted in Bar Counsel opening seven separate investigations. All of these investigations concern respondent's gross lapses of judgment and attention to his clients' interests in retained criminal cases. In the four matters that are the subject of this petition, respondent failed to adequately communicate with his clients, provide competent representation, respond to court orders, and/or prosecute his clients' interests.*fn1 In two cases, his clients' interests were seriously impaired when their respective appeals were dismissed. Additionally, respondent stipulated that in one case he negligently misappropriated funds. Further, respondent stipulated that when Bar Counsel requested information about these complaints he failed to timely respond.
On October 30, 2009, the parties filed a Petition for Negotiated Discipline and supporting Affidavit with the Board on Professional Responsibility ("Board")*fn2 in which they stipulated to the preceding facts in four cases and agreed that respondent had committed numerous violations of the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct.*fn3 After Bar Counsel agreed not to pursue three additional complaints,*fn4 the parties also agreed that a six-month suspension with a fitness requirement was an appropriate sanction. The Board referred the petition to an Ad Hoc Hearing Committee. A limited hearing was held on May 26, 2010, and respondent reaffirmed his admission to all of the factual allegations in the petition; acknowledged that each constituted a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct; and stated that he understood the ramifications of the proposed sanction, and had not been coerced, placed under duress, or promised anything that was not contained in the petition.*fn5 The Committee also performed an in camera review of Bar Counsel's files and conducted an ex parte discussion with Bar Counsel to confirm that there was a basis for the dismissal of certain originally charged violations. Thereafter, the Committee issued its report finding that the record supported the violations and that respondent entered into the agreement voluntarily. The Committee further found that, upon review of the entire scope of conduct leading to the various complaints, including serious lapses of duties and negligent misappropriation, a fitness requirement was necessary.*fn6 This report and recommendation are before the court.*fn7
Having reviewed the report and recommendation in accordance with our procedures in uncontested discipline cases,*fn8 we accept the Hearing Committee's Report and Recommendation approving the petition for negotiated discipline. The Hearing Committee reviewed the circumstances of the disciplinary events, weighed the mitigating circumstances, and found that the negotiated discipline falls within the range of discipline imposed for similar actions. Further, both Bar Counsel and respondent have acknowledged that although restitution is not a condition of his suspension, respondent will need to address this issue if and when he seeks reinstatement as part of his effort to establish fitness to practice law.
ORDERED that James W. Beane, Jr., is suspended from the practice of law in the District of Columbia for six months, with reinstatement conditioned on a showing of fitness to practice law. The suspension shall be effective thirty days from the date of this opinion. See D.C. Bar R. XI, § 14 (f). We direct respondent's attention to the requirements of D.C. Bar R. XI, § 14 (g) and their effect on his eligibility for reinstatement.