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In re James

Decided: March 31, 1958.

IN THE MATTER OF GEORGE M. JAMES, AN ATTORNEY AT LAW


On order to show cause why respondent should not be disbarred or otherwise disciplined.

For suspension for one year -- Chief Justice Weintraub, and Justices Heher, Wachenfeld, Burling, Jacobs, Francis and Proctor. Opposed -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Wachenfeld, J.

Wachenfeld

[26 NJ Page 393] After trial by jury, respondent was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey of willfully failing to file an income tax return for the calendar year 1954. On January 17, 1958 he

was sentenced to one year in prison and to pay a $5,000 fine. The prison term was suspended, however, and respondent was placed on probation for a period of three years. The Federal District Court judge made voluntary discontinuance of the practice of law for two years a condition of respondent's probation, specifically stating that this disposition was not to be regarded as an indication or suggestion to our court of the disciplinary measures it should take.

The Cape May County Ethics and Grievance Committee called the fact of respondent's conviction to our attention, and on January 6, 1958 we issued an order directing that he be suspended from the practice of law pending the outcome of a criminal appeal or until the judgment of the Federal District Court should become final. Respondent consented to this suspension and signed the order. Prior thereto, and as soon as he first became aware that the United States intended to press a criminal charge against him for failure to file the tax return in question, respondent had, entirely on his own initiative, voluntarily withdrawn from the active practice of law, notifying the Cape May Ethics and Grievance Committee of his determination. The Committee itself affirms the fact that respondent has not engaged in any form of practice as a member of the local bar since June 1, 1957.

Respondent did not pursue an appeal from his conviction, and, consequently, on February 10, 1958 we directed him to appear and show cause before us why he should not be disbarred or otherwise disciplined.

On the return of the order to show cause, respondent appeared through counsel. The facts herein narrated are not disputed.

In December 1955 or January 1956, within three days after he had been notified by the Internal Revenue Service of his delinquency, respondent submitted a tax return for 1954 and made payment thereon of $2,600. A subsequent audit of this return disclosed an overpayment of almost $1,600.

An affidavit presented to the court by respondent reveals in detail his general background and personal history. He

enjoyed a successful collegiate career and after military service during World War II went on to establish an excellent law school record.

Respondent is now 36 years of age and married. He was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1947 and worked in the office of another attorney until 1948, when he opened his own office in Wildwood, later becoming a member of a partnership.

Since becoming an attorney, he has devoted a large portion of his time to public service, participating in numerous charitable and civic efforts. He has served as secretary to the Cape May County Bar Association and has been active in its committee affairs. Respondent was county chairman of his political party and several times a candidate for public office. He was appointed a director of a title insurance company as well ...


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