The Disciplinary Review Board having filed a report recommending that STEVEN P. HAFT of PARSIPPANY be publicly reprimanded for his violations of Disciplinary Rules arising out of his representation for the Office of the Public Defender of a defendant in a criminal appeal and that he be required to reimburse the Office of Attorney Ethics for appropriate administrative costs, and good cause appearing;
It is ORDERED that the report of the Disciplinary Review Board is hereby adopted and that STEVEN P. HAFT be and hereby is publicly reprimanded for his violation of DR 7-101(A)(1), DR 7-101(A)(2), DR 7-101(A)(3), DR 1-102(A)(5), DR 1-102(A)(6) and DR 1-102(A)(1), which rules were in effect at the time the conduct occurred; and it is further
Ordered that the Decision and Recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Board, together with this order and the full record of the matter, be added as a permanent part of the file of said STEVEN P. HAFT as an attorney at law of the State of New Jersey, and it is further
ORDERED that STEVEN P. HAFT reimburse the Office of Attorney Ethics for appropriate administrative costs in this matter.
Decision and Recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Board
This matter is before the Board based on a presentment filed by the District X (Morris County) Ethics Committee.
The presentment charges Respondent with violating DR 1-102(A)(1), (5) and (6) and DR 7-101(A)(1), (2) and (3) by failing to conduct his representation of a criminal defendant in an ethical manner by reason of his failure, refusal or neglect to file required briefs and appendices pursuant to the Rules of Court and pursuant to the directions and orders of the Appellate Division.
Respondent, who was admitted to the Bar in 1974, was associated with a law firm in 1976 when he was assigned by the Office of the Public Defender to prepare an appellate brief on behalf of Ruben S. Rodriguez. Rodriguez had been tried and convicted of murder. He was sentenced on March 12, 1976 to life imprisonment with an additional five to seven year sentence for atrocious assault and battery. His notice of appeal was filed on April 23, 1976. Respondent was assigned to the case on August 24, 1976.
When no brief was timely filed, the Appellate Division on its own motion moved to dismiss the appeal and directed Respondent to appear personally before the panel on June 7, 1977. On the return date, the Court imposed a $50 sanction and directed Respondent to file the brief by June 21, 1977. No brief was filed by this deadline. By Order dated August 30, 1977, the Court imposed a second $50 sanction against Respondent and directed him to file the brief by September 29, 1977.
Again, Respondent failed to file the required brief. The Appellate Division issued an Order to Show Cause on October 31, 1977 directing Respondent to appear personally before the Court on November 9, 1977 to explain why further sanctions should not be imposed for failing to comply with the Court's prior orders. On that return date, the Court imposed a $75 sanction and directed Respondent ...