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In re Goffer

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

August 6, 2015

IN RE SHERRYL
v.
R.S. GOFFER A/K/A SHERRYL SNODGRASS CAFFEY, RESPONDENT. [1]

Argued April 9, 2015

A Suspended Member of the Bar of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. (Bar Registration No. 405100).

On Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility. (BDN-399-13).

Melanie J. Canter, Assistant Executive Attorney, with whom Elizabeth J. Branda, Executive Attorney, and James T. Phalen, Deputy Executive Attorney, were on the brief, for the Board on Professional Responsibility.

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 the Office of Bar Counsel.

Before FISHER and EASTERLY, Associate Judges, and RUIZ, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 1253

Fisher, Associate Judge

When neither the respondent nor Bar Counsel opposes identical reciprocal discipline, " the imposition of identical discipline should be close to automatic, with minimum review by both the Board and this court." In re Childress, 811 A.2d 805, 807 (D.C. 2002) (quoting In re Cole, 809 A.2d 1226, 1227 n.3 (D.C. 2002). At most, the reviewing body should examine " the foreign proceeding sufficiently to satisfy itself that no obvious miscarriage of justice would result [from] the imposition of identical discipline--a situation that we anticipate would rarely, if ever, present itself." In re Spann, 711 A.2d 1262, 1265 (D.C. 1998).

Although we have often repeated these words,[2] we have yet to provide much guidance for assessing whether an obvious miscarriage of justice will result. We do so here and conclude that this is not one of those very rare cases where an obvious miscarriage of justice will result from imposing identical reciprocal discipline.

I. Background

On November 18, 2008, the Disciplinary Board of the Alabama State Bar (the " DBASB" ) held a hearing on a complaint filed against Ms. Sherryl Caffey. Caffey did not attend the hearing or otherwise participate in the disciplinary proceedings.[3] Based on the live testimony and a review of trial transcripts, the DBASB determined that Caffey had engaged in serious misconduct in her representation of a defendant in a criminal case culminating in being found in contempt by the trial court and prompting a mistrial.

Specifically, the DBASB determined that Caffey had violated several of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct; [4] thus, the DBASB issued a judgment disbarring her. The Supreme Court of Alabama issued an order of disbarment on August 21, 2009.[5] ...


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