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In re Friedland

Decided: January 31, 1984.

IN THE MATTER OF DAVID FRIEDLAND, AN ATTORNEY-AT-LAW


On an Order to Show Cause why respondent should not be disbarred or otherwise disciplined.

For disbarment -- Justices Clifford, Schreiber, Handler, Pollock, O'Hern, Garibaldi. Opposed -- None.

Per Curiam

This disciplinary proceeding arises out of a presentment summarized by the Disciplinary Review Board (DRB):

The respondent was indicted in October of 1979 by the Grand Jury of the United States District Court, District of New Jersey. Respondent, together with his father, was charged in seven counts of a nine count indictment with conspiring to solicit and receive kickbacks and soliciting and receiving a total of $360,000 in kickbacks in return for influencing decisions on the investment of the assets of their client, the Pension Fund of Local 701 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; traveling and causing to travel with intent to promote and facilitate bribery; endeavoring to influence a grand juror*fn1; and making and subscribing false joint income tax returns, all in violation of Federal Law. The respondent entered a plea of not guilty, but was found guilty on all seven counts following trial. Respondent was sentenced on June 5, 1980 to a fine of $5,000 on each count, for a total of $35,000, to be paid by June 16, 1980, and four years imprisonment on each of two counts and three years on each of the remaining five counts, all to run concurrently. Execution of sentence was stayed pending appeal, as were the ethics proceedings; respondent was temporarily suspended from the practice of law effective January 5, 1981. His criminal conviction was affirmed.

The DRB report of the proceedings continues:

The District VI Ethics Committee heard this matter on July 7, 1982. Although respondent, by his attorney, had notice of the Committee hearing, no appearance was made. Following conclusion of the Ethics Committee hearing, Brian Shaughnessey, a Washington, D.C. attorney, contacted the Committee to request a hearing, contending that he now represented the respondent. He further claimed that respondent had not received proper notice of the Committee hearing, although he admitted that Raymond Brown, attorney of record, had received appropriate notice. He then requested that the hearing be reopened. He was then advised by Robert S. Feder, now Chairman of the District VI Ethics Committee, that a reopening of the Committee hearing would not be granted, and that the attorney of record would continue to be Raymond Brown, Esq., unless and until either the respondent or Mr. Brown advised to the contrary. The Committee thereafter concluded that respondent had violated DR 1-102(A)(1), (3), (4), (5) and (6).

The Disciplinary Review Board originally scheduled this matter for its December 1982 meeting. Based on respondent's representation that he would appear

before the Board at its January 19, 1983 meeting barring an 'act of God', the matter was adjourned for one month. However, prior to the rescheduled hearing, respondent advised he would be unable to attend since he would be in Switzerland, and that the United States Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey had requested that he not appear until after the conclusion of his cooperation with that office. The Board's staff thereafter contacted the United States Attorney's Office, which confirmed the request that the respondent not appear before the Board at this time due to significant concern for his safety.

In his letter requesting further adjournment, respondent contended that he wished to have the opportunity to demonstrate that his convictions were invalid and to show 'cause for (his) prior behavior.'

The Board determined to deny this latest request for adjournment, and proceeded to hear the matter.

Based upon the preceding findings, the DRB concluded:

Upon a review of the full record, the Board is satisfied that the conclusions of the Committee in finding unethical conduct on the part of respondent are fully supported by clear and convincing evidence. The respondent's criminal conduct constitutes multiple violations of DR 1-102(A)(1), (3), (4), (5) and (6). The respondent stands convicted of conspiracy and soliciting kickbacks for significant gain to the financial detriment of his client, the Pension Fund. This alone merits disbarment. See In re Colsey, 63 N.J. 210 (1973). When joined with his conviction on the additional counts of the ...


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