Hello everyone and welcome to this Ethics Alert blog which will discuss the recent Louisiana Disciplinary Board recommendation that a lawyer who was previously disbarred in Louisiana but was admitted to practice in Georgia after using a false name and failing to disclose his prior admission and disbarment and felony conviction be denied reinstatement for the second time. The case is In Re: Jack P.F. Gremillion, Jr., Case No.: 11-DB-039 (10/29/12) and the Recommendation of the Louisiana Disciplinary Board is here: http://www.ladb.org/new/DR/?DocID=7815&Title=GREMILLION,%20JACK%20P.F.,%20JR.
According to the Louisiana Board’s Recommendation, the lawyer was disbarred in Louisiana in October 1975 for misconduct related forgery and false statements to a court in Mississippi. In January 1975, prior to his disbarment, the lawyer pled guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice in federal court. The conviction was based upon the lawyer’s counseling an individual to not appear as a witness in a federal criminal matter. The lawyer cooperated with the federal authorities and testified against the defendant. In exchange for his testimony, the lawyer was placed in the Federal Witness Relocation Program, was given the new name of John Paul Farrar, and was relocated to Savannah, Georgia.
In March 1977, after his relocation, the lawyer applied for admission to the Georgia Bar using the new name; however, he failed to disclose the fact that he had previously been admitted in Louisiana, the disbarment, or his felony conviction. Georgia admitted him under the new name but later learned about his prior record. In June 1978, the lawyer pled guilty to mail fraud in federal court in Georgia based upon his misrepresentations to an insurance company and creation of forged medical records related to a minor car accident. After the accident, he apparently misrepresented his financial injury to the insurance company by creating forged medical records to obtain additional compensation. The lawyer was sentenced to three (3) years of incarceration with 2 1/2 years suspended.
The Georgia disciplinary authorities became aware of the lawyer’s true name and identity and began discipline proceedings based upon his misrepresentations on his bar application and conviction for mail fraud. The lawyer later voluntarily resigned from the Georgia Bar.
The lawyer had previously applied for readmission in Louisiana in 2002 and was denied in 2006. The Board’s Recommendation acknowledged that, during the time period of the lawyer’s misconduct, he was addicted to amphetamines and alcohol and the lawyer entered treatment in 1985; however, after reviewing the case law and the 11 criteria required for reinstatement in Louisiana, the Board found that the lawyer had not presented “good and sufficient reasons why he should be readmitted to the practice of law. Given the egregious nature and magnitude of the misconduct that Petitioner engaged in after his disbarment, the Board would be remiss in its obligation to uphold the integrity of the profession if it did not recommend that the petition for readmission be denied.” The recommendation will now be reviewed by the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Bottom line: This is somewhat bizarre case with some strange facts. I guess the takeaway is that if a lawyer is disbarred and testify against a criminal defendant and is given a new name under the witness protection program, that lawyer shouldn’t use the new name and lie on the Bar application when applying for admission in another state…
Be careful out there!
Disclaimer: this e-mail does not contain any legal advice and the comments herein should not be relied upon by anyone who reads it.
Joseph A. Corsmeier, Esquire
Law Office of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A.
2454 McMullen Booth Road, Suite 431
Clearwater, Florida 33759
Office (727) 799-1688
Fax (727) 799-1670