On an Order to Show Cause why respondent should not be disbarred or otherwise disciplined.
For suspension -- Chief Justice Wilentz and Justices Clifford, Handler, Pollock, O'Hern, Garibaldi and Stein. Opposed -- None.
This disciplinary proceeding arose from a motion for final discipline against respondent that was filed with the Disciplinary Review Board (DRB) by the Office of Attorney Ethics. Respondent was temporarily suspended from the practice of law on December 20, 1984, R. 1:20-6(a)(1), on the basis of respondent's guilty plea to a charge of false swearing, N.J.S.A. 2C:28-2(a), a fourth-degree crime. The DRB has recommended, by a vote of 7-1, that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for one year retroactive to December 20, 1984.
The DRB accurately sets forth the relevant facts in its Decision and Recommendation:
The Bergen County Grand Jury returned indictment No. S-1067-82 on November 22, 1982 charging Respondent with perjury (count 1, N.J.S.A. 2C:28-1) and with false swearing (count 2, N.J.S.A. 2C:28-2a). Respondent was charged with making a false statement by denying that he had signed promissory notes which were the subject of civil litigation. These alleged acts occurred between September 14 and 19, 1981. Respondent had invested a total of $45,000 into a business and ultimately became a major stock holder in it. On August 15, 1980 the business borrowed $40,000 from a bank. This note was personally guaranteed by Respondent and his business partner. The note later went into default with an outstanding balance due of $35,555.56. When the bank notified the partners, Respondent's partner replied that he had filed a petition for bankruptcy. Respondent claimed he had not signed or authorized anyone to sign the $40,000 note on his behalf, asserting that his signatures were forged.
When the bank filed a civil action to collect the money due, Respondent stated in his answer that the signatures were not his. In a certification dated September 14, 1981, Respondent swore that he had examined both promissory notes "and it is evident that the four signatures on said notes purporting to be that of Alexander Kushner are all different and were not signed by me." He "specifically" denied either signing any of the notes or authorizing anyone to sign his name. The certification contained the follow [sic] statement:
I certify that the foregoing statements made by me are true. I am aware that if any of the foregoing statements made by me are willfully false, I am subject to punishment.
On October 13, 1981, the Bergen County Superior Court granted Respondent's motion for summary judgment because the bank had failed to reply to his request for admissions.
Subsequently the matter was brought to the attention of the Bergen County Prosecutor's office. During his criminal trial, Respondent pleaded guilty to count 2 of the indictment. On October 26, 1984 he was sentenced to 18 months probation. Count 1 was dismissed.
Respondent was temporarily suspended from the practice of law on December 20, 1984 pursuant to R. 1:20-6(a)(1).
In recommending that respondent be suspended from practice for one year, the DRB considered the ...