She’s Back! Busted from being able to hoodwink clients over fees, shady bookkeeping, and collecting rent, the High Court in Maryland deems her redemptive and able to be an honest attorney!
Kamah Menseleh GUEH-THORONKA, – Indefinite Suspension by Consent on May 20, 2021, effective immediately, with the right to petition for reinstatement after six months, for failing to represent her client competently and diligently, failing to adequately communicate with her client, failing to communicate the scope of the representation and the basis or rate of the fee and expenses for which her client would be responsible before or within a reasonable time after commencing the representation, failing to safekeep funds in an attorney trust account, engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, and failing to comply with attorney trust account record-keeping requirements. Respondent represented a client in multiple legal matters over a period of several years and, among other issues, failed to communicate the basis or rate of her fees in each matter to her client and was unable to account accurately for rent payments she collected from a tenant on behalf of her client, a portion of which was used to pay her fees.
Law partner of Family Magistrate F. Michael Harris was indefinitely suspended for allowing a felonious employee who stole thousands to have access to client funds.
Back in the Saddle
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION THE FOR REINSTATEMENT OF JOSEPH C. CAPRISTO
COURT OF APPEALS
TO THE BAR OF MARYLAND
Misc. Docket AG No. 39*September Term, 2020
Upon consideration of the Petition for Reinstatement to the practice of Law Pursuant to Maryland Rule 19-752 and Bar Counsel’s Response and Consent to Petition for Reinstatement, filed in the above-captioned case, it is this6thday of November 2020, ORDERED, by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, that the Petition for Reinstatement, be, and the same hereby is, GRANTED, and it is further ordered, that the Clerk of the Court shall replace the name Joseph C. Capristo upon the register of attorneys entitled to practice law in this State and certify that fact to the Trustees of the Client Protection Fund and the Clerks of all judicial tribunals in this State.
/s/ Robert N. McDonald
She lied, cheated, and falsely presented a signature on a will, and the Alice in Wonderland Maryland Judiciary reinstated her to practice law.
KEATING, Mary Theresa – Indefinite Suspension on December 23, 2020, effective immediately, for failing to maintain candor to the tribunal, committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on her honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as an attorney, engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, and engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice. Respondent falsely attested that she witnessed her client’s signature on a will she prepared for him by adding her signature as a witness three days after her client’s death.
Respondent then submitted the will to the Register of Wills when she filed a petition for
administration of her deceased client’s estate, falsely affirming under the penalty of perjury in the petition that the will was properly executed in accordance with Maryland law when she knew she had not witnessed the decedent’s signature.
He’s back to serve more clients, thanks to the bozos of the Maryland Supreme Court. Caveat Emptor!
LAWSON, Jeffery – Suspended indefinitely for charging an unreasonable/excessive fee, failing to return unearned fees, failing to deposit unearned fees to trust and failing to adequately communicate with his client.
Suspended in DC and in Md, he’s back in the lawyer business waiting for you to walk in the door.
ROBERT N. MCDONALD SENIOR JUDGE
Upon consideration of the Joint Petition of the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland and the Respondent, Isaac H. Marks, to indefinitely suspend the Respondent from the practice of law with a right to petition for reinstatement in one year, it is this 15th day of November, 2021
ORDERED, by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, that the Respondent, Isaac H. Marks, be, and he hereby is, indefinitely suspended from the practice of law with a right to petition for reinstatement in one year for violations of Rule 1.1 (competence), Rule 1.3 (diligence), Rule 1.15(a) and (d) (safekeeping property), and Rule 8.4(c) and (d) (misconduct) of the Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct; and it is further
ORDERED, that the indefinite suspension is effective nunc pro tunc to September 13, 2021; and it is further
ORDERED, that the Clerk of this Court shall remove the name of Isaac H. Marks from the register of attorneys in this Court, and certify that fact to the Trustees of the Client Protection Fund of the Bar of Maryland and all Clerks of all judicial tribunals in this State in accordance with Maryland Rule 19-761(b).
Ruth is back to work.
SCHAUB, Ruth Marguerite Marie – Commission Reprimand on December 4, 2018, for failing to adequately supervise her husband/ law partner after he was indefinitely suspended from the practice of law but continued to work in the firm as a compensated non-attorney assistant. Respondent failed to reasonably inform a client of the suspension, allowing the client to believe Respondent’s husband still represented her for a significant period of time after he was prohibited from practicing law.
Back from the woodshed
SHEDLICK, Christopher Broughton – Commission Reprimand on December 3, 2018, for failing to safe-keep client funds in trust and for failing to create and maintain adequate records for his attorney trust account.
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION * IN THE
FOR REINSTATEMENT OF
RAJ SANJEET SINGH * COURT OF APPEALS
TO THE BAR OF MARYLAND
- OF MARYLAND
Upon consideration of the Verified Petition for Reinstatement and Bar Counsel’s Response to the Verified Petition for Reinstatement, filed in the above-captioned case, and of the oral argument held in this matter, it is this 14th day of January, 2022;
ORDERED, by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, a majority of the Court concurring, that the Petition be, and the same hereby is, GRANTED, and it is further
ORDERED, that Raj Sanjeet Singh is reinstated as a member of the Bar of Maryland; and it is further
ORDERED, that this Order is without prejudice to Bar Counsel establishing the violations alleged in the Petition for Disciplinary and Remedial Action in Misc. Docket AG No. 17 (Sept. 2021 Term) by clear and convincing evidence pursuant to Maryland Rule 19-727(c); and it is further
ORDERED, that the Clerk of the Court shall replace the name Raj Sanjeet Singh upon the register of attorneys entitled to practice law in this State and certify that fact to the Trustees of the Client Protection Fund and the Clerks of all judicial tribunals in this State.
/s/ Joseph M. Getty
|95ag/21||slip.op.||2022-11-18||Order||Reinstatement of Gueh-Thoronka||101|
|59ag/21||477 Md. 535||2022-02-25||Order||Reinstatement of Keating||102|
|100ag/20||slip.op.||2022-11-18||Order||Reinstatement of Lawson||103|
|30ag/22||slip.op.||2022-12-16||Order||Reinstatement of Marks||104|
|39ago/21||slip.op.||2022-06-16||Order||Reinstatement of Pavlick||105|
|39ag/I21||477 Md. 170||2022-01-12||Order||Reinstatement of Pavlick||106|
|67ag/21||478 Md. 199||2022-03-28||Order||Reinstatement of Schaub||107|
|91ag/21||slip.op.||2022-06-15||Order||Reinstatement of Shedlick||108|
|103ag/20||477 Md. 172||2022-01-14||Order||Reinstatement of Singh||109|
|60ag/21||477 Md. 478||2022-02-18||Order||Reinstatement of Walker-Turner|
|Case: AGC v. John Walker-Turner Sr., CA AG No. 52, Sept. Term 2001. Reported. Opinion by Harrell, J. Filed Dec. 9, 2002. |
Issue: Did the respondent engage in the unauthorized practice of law in the District of Columbia?
Holding: Yes. Although he was admitted to the Maryland bar, he maintained an office in Washington where he saw and advised a client regarding a Washington legal matter. Counsel: Melvin Hirshman for petitioner; John Iweanoge for respondent.
“As the record in the present case makes clear,” Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr. wrote for the court, “[Walker-Turner] took no steps to gain regular admission to the Bar of the District of Columbia during the time he operated from his various D.C. offices. Further, he evinced no intent to seek such admission.”
Walker-Turner was admitted to the Maryland bar in December 1999 and has worked out of offices in Washington and Maryland, according to the court’s opinion.
The disciplinary action against him stemmed from his representation of a clerk with the District of Columbia Department of Corrections who sought reversal of a 45-day suspension. He met with the woman in his D.C. office and advised her on D.C. law, the opinion noted.
Walker-Turner’s actions, however, did not warrant the 90-day suspension requested by the Attorney Grievance Commission, the court concluded in suspending him for 30 days.
“Respondent, following the conduct complained of, abandoned his D.C. office and now maintains an office in Maryland only,” Harrell wrote. “While practicing in D.C., he arguably made some efforts to conform his practice to what he understood (albeit an incorrect understanding) to be the limitations of his legal authorization to practice, i.e., having a D.C. attorney move his admission pro hac vice for litigation matters in the D.C. courts and denoting the letters “MD” after his name on firm stationery. …
“[W]e are persuaded that his misstep … was due largely to inexperience and not likely to repeat itself.”
WALKER-TURNER, John Wayne – Sixty (60) day Suspension on August 22, 2012, effective immediately, for lack of competence, failing to act with reasonable diligence, failing to appear at a trial, failing to adequately communicate and account to his client and for engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.
Petitioner recommends that Walker-Turner be suspended from the practice of law for six months. This recommendation was based on the violations of the MLRPC at issue in this case, as well as Walker-Turner’s receipt of sanctions for previous professional misconduct. In 2002, we imposed on *233Walker-Turner a 30-day suspension for the unauthorized practice of law, a violation of MLRPC 5.5(a). Att’y Griev. Comm’n v. Walker-Turner, 372 Md. 85, 812 A.2d 260 (2002). In 2006, the Attorney Grievance Commission issued to Walker-Turner a reprimand for violations of Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct11 1.1, 1.3, and 1.4 in connection with his representation of a client in a personal injury case. Walker-Turner was reprimanded again by the Attorney Grievance Commission in 2007 for violations of MLRPC 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(d). This reprimand was for failing to appear at a court hearing and his failure to communicate properly with his client. Walker-Turner would like a reprimand in the present case, if it is not dismissed outright.
In imposing sanctions in attorney discipline matters, “our aim is to protect the public and the public’s confidence in the legal profession rather than to punish the attorney … [and] to deter other lawyers from violating the” MLRPC. Att’y Griev. Comm’n v. Taylor, 405 Md. 697, 720, 955 A.2d 755, 768 (2008). We evaluate the facts and circumstances of each case to ensure that the attorney’s sanction is commensurate with the gravity and intent of the misconduct. Att’y Griev. Comm’n v. Ruddy, 411 Md. 30, 76-77, 981 A.2d 637, 664 (2009). We have looked often to the ABA’s standards for attorney sanctions which pose four rhetorical questions as an analytical template: “(1) What is the nature of the ethical duty violated?; (2) What was the lawyer’s mental state?; (3) What was the extent of the actual or potential injury caused by the lawyer’s misconduct?; and (4) Are there any aggravating or mitigating circumstances?” Id. (quoting Taylor, 405 Md. at 721, 955 A.2d at 769).
Although Judge Weatherly did not enumerate explicitly any findings relating to mitigation, we have said that, where shown by a preponderance of the evidence, “inadvertence, lack of a *234persistent pattern of conduct, lack of prejudice to the client, and other such matters more properly pertain to mitigation of any sanction, rather than the fact of violation.” Ficker, 319 Md. at 313, 572 A.2d at 505 (citing Md. State Bar Ass’n v. Phoebus, 276 Md. 353, 362, 347 A.2d 556, 561 (1975) (internal quotation omitted)). The hearing judge did conclude that Walker-Turner’s failure to appear at the 26 January 2007 trial was inadvertent, but that this failure (and its ramifications) could have been prevented by checking-in with the courtroom clerk or Botsaris before the case was called and “tried.” On the other hand, we note that Walker-Turner has received letters of reprimand from the Attorney Grievance Commission previously for failing to appear at a trial. Walker-Turner’s tendency to fail to appear for trials suggests an uncorrected pattern that aggravates the present case. Also, we do not ignore the harm (or potential harm) suffered by Anderson, e.g., a civil monetary judgment was entered on his credit record, with attendant consequences affecting a loan application and possibly a job application.
It is true that Walker-Turner worked with Botsaris in an attempt to cure the consequences of the entry of the judgment. The judgment appeared on Anderson’s credit report nonetheless and impaired his ability to refinance his house. It appears still on his credit history (according to Anderson’s testimony), even though he made his payments to Yellow Book timely pursuant to the settlement agreement. Anderson applied for a job requiring a security clearance (that included a credit check), and he believed that he was not hired for that job because of the judgment that appeared on his credit report. Walker-Turner is a solo practitioner with over ten years of experience. He is to be praised for being active in local legal and community organizations, as well as offering pro bono representation.
Because Walker-Turner has served already a 30-day suspension and the nature of his repeated similar violations suggests that more incentive is required to protect the public, a stronger sanction is warranted here. Recently, we imposed *235a 60-day suspension on an attorney who violated MLRPC 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.8(h), 3.4(c), 4.2, 8.1, and 8.4, considering that his violations were repeat offenses following an earlier 30-day suspension. Att’y Griev. Comm’n v. Butler, 426 Md. 522, 539, 44 A.3d 1022, 1032 (2012). An appropriate sanction in the present case is a 60-day suspension.
IT IS SO ORDERED; RESPONDENT SHALL PAY ALL COSTS AS TAXED BY THIS COURT PURSUANT TO MARYLAND RULE 16-761, FOR WHICH SUM JUDGMENT IS ENTERED IN FAVOR OF THE ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMMISSION AGAINST JOHN WAYNE WALKER-TURNER.
Upon consideration of Kamah Menseleh Gueh-Thoronka’s Verified Petition for Reinstatement, Bar Counsel’s response to the petition, and Petitioner’s “Motion for Petition for Reinstatement to be Granted Without a Hearing,” it is this 18th day of November 2022, by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, a majority of the Court concurring,
ORDERED by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, a majority of the court concurring that the Petition is, GRANTED;