Argued: April 14, 2015.
A Suspended Member of the Bar of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. (Bar Registration No. 452042).
On Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility. (BDN-19-11).
Victor Mba-Jonas, Pro se.
William R. Ross, Assistant Bar Counsel, with whom Wallace E. Shipp, Jr., Bar Counsel, Jennifer P. Lyman, Senior Assistant Bar Counsel, and Jelani Lowery, Senior Staff Attorney, were on the brief, for Bar Counsel.
Before WASHINGTON, Chief Judge, BECKWITH, Associate Judge, and REID, Senior Judge.
Having found by clear and convincing evidence that petitioner, Victor Mba-Jonas, failed to satisfy any of the criteria for reinstatement outlined in In re Roundtree, 503 A.2d 1215, 1217 (D.C. 1985), the Ad Hoc Hearing Committee (" Hearing Committee" ) recommended that Mr. Mba-Jonas' petition for reinstatement be denied. The Board on Professional Responsibility took no exception to the Hearing Committee's recommendation. We accept the Hearing Committee's recommendation.
The Maryland Court of Appeals indefinitely suspended Mr. Mba-Jonas from the practice of law in Maryland with the right to petition for reinstatement after ninety days. See Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. Mba-Jonas, 397 Md. 690, 919 A.2d 669 (Md. 2007) (" Mba-Jonas I " ). Thereafter, Bar Counsel initiated reciprocal disciplinary proceedings. While that reciprocal proceeding was pending, the Maryland Court of Appeals again suspended Mr. Mba-Jonas indefinitely for additional misconduct, imposing a right to petition for reinstatement after six months. See Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. Mba-Jonas, 402 Md. 334, 936 A.2d 839 (Md. 2007) (" Mba-Jonas II " ). This court consolidated the matters and ultimately imposed identical discipline in both matters, suspending Mr. Mba-Jonas for ninety days with a fitness requirement, as in Mba-Jonas I, and six months with a fitness requirement, as in Mba-Jonas II.
" In a disciplinary case, this court accepts the [Hearing Committee's] findings of fact unless they are unsupported by substantial evidence of record." In re Samad, 51 A.3d 486, 495 (D.C. 2012) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also D.C. Bar R. XI, § 9 (h)(1). Furthermore, " [a]lthough we place 'great weight' on the recommendations of the Board and Hearing Committee, this court has the ultimate authority to decide whether to grant a petition for reinstatement." In re Sabo, 49 A.3d 1219, 1224 (D.C. 2012) (quoting In re Bettis, 644 A.2d 1023, 1027 (D.C. 1994)). However, this court defers to the Hearing Committee's findings of fact because the Hearing Committee is " the only decision-maker which had the opportunity to observe the witnesses and assess their demeanor." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).
A petitioner seeking reinstatement has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the petitioner " has the moral qualifications, competency, and learning in law required for admission," and that resumption of the practice of (. . . continued) law " will not be detrimental to the integrity and standing of the Bar, or to the administration of justice, or subversive to the public interest." D.C. Bar R. XI, § 16 (d). In determining whether a petitioner has carried its burden, this court considers:
(1) the nature and circumstances of the misconduct for which the attorney was disciplined; (2) whether the attorney recognizes the seriousness of the misconduct; (3) the attorney's conduct since discipline was imposed, including the steps taken to remedy past wrongs and prevent future ones; (4) the attorney's present ...