In re Wayne Richard Hartke, Respondent. Bar Registration No. 200378
Submitted March 22, 2016
A Member of the Bar of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals On Order to Show Cause (BDN-100-15)
Wayne Richard Hartke, pro se.
Wallace E. Shipp, Jr., Disciplinary Counsel, and William R. Ross, Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
Before Beckwith and McLeese, Associate Judges, and Pryor, Senior Judge.
In April 2015, respondent Wayne Richard Hartke was suspended from the practice of law in Virginia for six months. This court issued an order directing Mr. Hartke to show cause why this court should not impose identical reciprocal discipline. Mr. Hartke argues that he should not be sanctioned at all. We adopt Disciplinary Counsel's recommendation that we impose identical reciprocal discipline.
The following facts were stipulated by Mr. Hartke and the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board. In January 2014, Mr. Hartke attended a Continuing Legal Education ("CLE") seminar in Virginia. During the morning session, Mr. Hartke fell asleep and began snoring, causing the seminar's coordinator to intervene and wake Mr. Hartke. During the afternoon session, Mr. Hartke began talking loudly at a video presentation and continued to do so after the seminar coordinator asked him to stop. In response to Mr. Hartke's continued outbursts, another attendee led Mr. Hartke from the room. That attendee smelled alcohol on Mr. Hartke's person. Another attendee saw a nearly empty liquor bottle among Mr. Hartke's possessions and noticed that Mr. Hartke appeared to be intoxicated. Mr. Hartke admitted to one attendee that he had been drinking.
In a written response to the Virginia State Bar and orally to a Virginia State Bar investigator, Mr. Hartke denied bringing alcohol to the seminar and denied being intoxicated during the seminar. When speaking with the investigator, Mr. Hartke also denied falling asleep and snoring during the morning session, insisting that he had been taking notes. In a subsequent conversation with an Assistant Virginia Bar Counsel, however, Mr. Hartke admitted that those representations were not accurate and that he did not take the steps necessary to correct his misrepresentations.
Based on the stipulated facts, Mr. Hartke and the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board stipulated that Mr. Hartke violated the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct by "fail[ing] to disclose a fact necessary to correct a misapprehension known by [Mr. Hartke] to have arisen" in connection with a disciplinary matter, Va. R. Prof. Conduct 8.1(b), and by "violat[ing] or attempt[ing] to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, " Va. R. Prof. Conduct 8.4(a). Mr. Hartke stipulated to a six-month suspension of his license to practice law in Virginia.
"We have adopted a rigid standard in reciprocal discipline cases, presumptively imposing identical reciprocal discipline, unless the attorney demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that the case falls within one of five specified exceptions articulated in D.C. Bar Rule XI, § 11 (c)." In re Nosal, 112 A.3d 919, 921 (D.C. 2015) (internal quotation marks and brackets omitted). Mr. Hartke argues that he was disciplined in Virginia for conduct that "does not constitute misconduct in the District of Columbia." D.C. Bar Rule XI, § 11 (c)(5). We disagree.
Mr. Hartke contends that his Virginia suspension was based on "sleeping and snoring in a [CLE] class." To the contrary, as he acknowledged in the Virginia stipulation, Mr. Hartke was not suspended for sleeping and snoring. Rather, he was suspended for failing to correct misrepresentations that he made to the Virginia State Bar in the course of the Virginia disciplinary proceedings. This court's Rules of Professional Conduct also prohibit misrepresenting facts in the course of a disciplinary proceeding. D.C. R. Prof. Conduct 8.1 ("[A] lawyer . . . [, ] in connection with a disciplinary matter, shall not . . . [f]ail to disclose a fact necessary to correct a misapprehension known by the lawyer . . . to have arisen in the ...