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In re Gleason

March 8, 1984

IN THE MATTER OF FRANCIS T. GLEASON, JR., AN ATTORNEY AT LAW

ORDER

The Disciplinary Review Board having filed a report with the Supreme Court recommending that FRANCIS T. GLEASON, JR. of SOMERVILLE be suspended from the practice of law and respondent having accepted the findings of the Board and having consented to the discipline recommended by that Board;

It is ORDERED that the Decision and Recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Board is hereby adopted and that FRANCIS T. GLEASON, JR. of SOMERVILLE is suspended from the practice of law for a period of eighteen months and until the further order of this Court, effective March 2, 1982, see In the Matter of Smock, 86 N.J. 426 (1981); and it is further

Ordered that FRANCIS T. GLEASON, JR. be and hereby is restrained and enjoined from practicing law during the period of his suspension; and it is further

Ordered that respondent reimburse the Office of Attorney Ethics for administrative costs, including the production of transcripts; and it is further

Ordered that respondent comply with Administrative Guideline Number 23 of the Office of Attorney Ethics dealing with suspended, disbarred or resigned attorneys.

Decision and Recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Board

To the Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of New Jersey:

This matter is before the Board based upon a presentment filed by the District VII Ethics Committee which concerns misappropriation of trust funds by the respondent.

The respondent was retained by William Franklin in December of 1973 to represent him in a divorce action. At issue in that action, inter alia, was the custody of the minor child, Glenn. The custody issue was hotly contested, and was finally resolved in favor of respondent's client after several days of trial. On August 1, 1975, William Franklin refinanced his home and purchased his ex-wife's interest in the property with the proceeds. Certain other outstanding obligations were satisfied at that time, including the respondent's counsel fees for representation in the matrimonial action. The respondent testified that because of Franklin's financial situation he charged less than $2,000, although a fee of from $1,500 to $2,000 more would not

have been unreasonable. Several days later, Franklin died. Subsequent to his death, custody of Glenn, who was then about 14 years of age, again became an issue. Glenn wanted to live with his uncle in Nebraska, while his mother insisted that he live with her. The respondent became involved in the custody discussions. Ultimately, on or about August 5, 1975, the court ordered that Glenn be in the custody of his mother and appointed the respondent as guardian of Glenn, and as administrator of the estate of William.

At the time of Franklin's death, the respondent was holding in his trust account the balance of the monies obtained through the refinancing of Franklin's residence. After qualifying as administrator of the estate, the respondent began withdrawing these funds from his trust account for his personal use to meet living expenses for himself and his family. A total of about $4,500 was withdrawn in this manner beginning in August of 1975 through early 1976. As administrator of the estate, the ...


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