Colorado lawyer suspended for 6 months for threatening call to Charles Schwab office after he was locked out of spouse’s 401k account

Hello everyone and welcome to this Ethics Alert blog which will discuss the recent Colorado Supreme Court opinion suspending a lawyer for 6 months for making a threatening call to an Arizona Charles Schwab office after he was locked out of his spouse’s 401k account. The opinion is In the People v. Stuart Adam Jay, 14PDJ030 (5/13/14) and a summary of the disciplinary opinion on the Colorado Supreme Court’s website is here:

Click to access Jay,%20Conditional%20Admission%20of%20Misconduct,%2014PDJ030,%205-13-14.pdf

According to the case summary on the Colorado Supreme Court’s webpage, on November 13, 2013, the lawyer made a threatening phone call to an Arizona Charles Schwab office because he was locked out of his wife’s 401k account and wanted access. He made threats against the Denver Charles Schwab office, stating that if he “did not gain access to his wife’s account innocent people at the Denver office would be ‘hurt’ and the office would be ‘gone.’”

The Denver police department sent two officers to the lawyer’s residence and he answered the door holding a “two-foot long antique bayonet”. The officers pulled their firearms and told the lawyer to drop the sword. He complied and was taken to jail and charged. The lawyer pled guilty in January 2014 to a charge of felony menacing and was sentenced to two years deferred judgment and supervised probation.

The lawyer self-reported the criminal conviction and agreed to a conditional admission that he violated Colorado Bar Rule 8.4(b), which prohibits a lawyer from committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.

According to the summary, “(the lawyer’s) lengthy struggle with depression, anxiety, and treatment for those conditions may have contributed to his misconduct.” The conditional admission of misconduct was approved and the lawyer was suspended for six months effective May 13, 2014 with a requirement that he petition for reinstatement to practice.

Bottom line: This lawyer appears to have had serious stress/depression/anxiety issues which caused a complete breakdown and the bizarre behavior. Stress can be any lawyer’s worst enemy. Hopefully he will get help and will be able to recover and return to practice.

Let’s be careful out there.

Disclaimer: this Ethics Alert blog is not an advertisement and 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

About jcorsmeier

Joseph A. Corsmeier is an “AV” rated attorney practicing in Clearwater, Florida. He concentrates his practice primarily in the areas of defense of attorney disciplinary matters before The Florida Bar, attorney admission matters before the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, and professional license and disciplinary matters before the Boards of the State of Florida. He provides expert analysis and opinion on conflict of interest and other attorney disqualification and legal malpractice issues and he testified as an expert in the Florida courts. He served as an Assistant State Attorney in the Sixth Judicial Circuit from 1986 to 1990 where he prosecuted felonies exclusively from June 1987, and as Bar Counsel for The Florida Bar’s Department of Lawyer Regulation from 1990 to 1998. He also practices in the areas of estate planning and Medicaid qualification, workers’ compensation, and labor law. Mr. Corsmeier is the author of numerous articles for various bar publications, has spoken at numerous local and statewide seminars on various topics, including ethics and professionalism, and was an instructor of legal ethics for paralegals at Rollins College until the Tampa campus closed. He received his undergraduate degree from Florida State University and his J.D. from Mercer University. He is admitted to practice in all Florida Courts, the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the Middle District of Florida. He is a member of The Florida Bar, American Bar Association, the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, and the Clearwater and St. Petersburg Bar Associations.
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