The Disciplinary Review Board having filed a recommendation with the Supreme Court recommending that JOHN A. ESPOSITO of UNION CITY be suspended from the practice of law for six months based upon respondent's guilty plea to a violation of 26 U.S.C.A. 7203, and good cause appearing;
It is ORDERED that the report of the Disciplinary Review Board is hereby adopted and that JOHN A. ESPOSITO is suspended from the practice of law for a period of six months, effective May 28, 1984, and until further order of this Court; and it is further
Ordered that JOHN A. ESPOSITO be and hereby is restrained and enjoined from practicing law during the period of his suspension, and it is further
Ordered that JOHN A. ESPOSITO reimburse the Office of Attorney Ethics for appropriate administrative costs; and it is further
Ordered that respondent comply with Administrative Guideline No. 23 of the Office of Attorney Ethics dealing with suspended, disbarred or resigned attorneys.
Decision and Recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Board
This matter is before the Board based on a three-count presentment filed by the District VI Ethics Committee for Hudson County. The presentment charges the respondent with various disciplinary violations in his representation of particular clients, as well as in connection with his guilty plea to criminal charges for failing to pay federal income and social security
taxes on behalf of his employees. A fourth complaint, filed by the District IV Ethics Committee and consolidating the above matters, was dismissed by the Hearing Panel. The charges of misconduct may be summarized as follows:
I. Powers Complaint (VI-79-13E)
In January 1967, complainants Joseph and Justine Powers consulted respondent about assisting them in the processing of an adoption. The complainants were initially approached about the adoption by Dr. Cacace who, as the Powers' personal physician, was aware that they were unable to have children. Dr. Cacace was then also treating a pregnant 14 year old girl who was willing to surrender her unborn child. Dr. Cacace informed complainants of this and referred them to respondent.
In January 1967, complainants received a telephone call from Dr. Cacace. He told them that a child had been born and that they could come to the hospital to get her. Joseph Powers, accompanied by his sister-in-law, a nurse, went to the hospital and surreptitiously received the baby. Mr. Powers never met the natural mother nor did he determine whether she consented to the adoption.
Shortly after the baby was delivered to complainants, they met with respondent to commence adoption proceedings. At this meeting, respondent discussed the necessity of obtaining the natural mother's consent to the adoption. He also had complainants complete some forms which were to be filed with the proper court. Complainants claimed that they then paid respondent a $200 retainer, which he denied having received and for which no proof of payment was produced.
Subsequent to this meeting and periodically over the next 12 years, complainants would telephone respondent to determine the progress of the adoption. These calls would usually coincide with a period in the child's life when proof of the child's adoption status was in question, such as registration for school. On two or three occasions during this period, complainants
went to respondent's office to discuss the adoption. Each time they were asked to sign papers after being told that the papers they had previously signed had been lost.
Respondent testified that during each of these intermittent conversations or meetings he advised complainants that the circumstances surrounding their acquisition of the child were irregular and that they should contact either a state agency or Catholic Charities to arrange for a proper placement. Complainants denied having any such discussions with respondent. They did acknowledge, however, that respondent twice helped them to prepare income tax returns. According to respondent, complainants sought his advice concerning the permissibility of deducting the expenses of the child as a dependent. He advised them that they would probably not be able to take the deduction unless the child ...