This matter having been presented to the Court on the recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Board that the discipline to be imposed upon STEVEN S. FRIEDMAN, of ELMWOOD PARK, who was admitted to the bar of New Jersey in 1970, be limited to the time he has served since his temporary suspension from the practice of law on February 13, 1986, and
STEVEN S. FRIEDMAN having waived oral argument before this Court and having moved for his immediate restoration to the practice of law, and good cause appearing;
It is ORDERED that the Court adopts the report of the Disciplinary Review Board; and it is further
Ordered that the suspension of STEVEN S. FRIEDMAN from the practice of law shall continue until the further order of the Court; and it is further
ORDERED that STEVEN S. FRIEDMAN is eligible to apply for his restoration to the practice of law under R. 1:20-11(h); and it is further
Ordered that STEVEN S. FRIEDMAN is restrained and enjoined from practicing law during the period of his suspension; and it is further
Ordered that respondent reimburse the Ethics Financial Committee for the appropriate administrative costs arising out of the prosecution of this disciplinary matter; and it is further
Ordered that STEVEN S. FRIEDMAN continue to comply with Administrative Guideline No. 23 of the Office of Attorney Ethics dealing with suspended attorneys; and it is further
Ordered that respondent's motion for immediate restoration to the practice of law is denied.
SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY
This matter is before the Board on a Notice of Motion for Final Discipline filed by the Office of Attorney Ethics. This is based on respondent's guilty plea to violations of N.J.S.A. 2C:21-4(a) in that he improperly affixed his jurat to three affidavits prepared for clients when these persons had not personally appeared before him. The facts are as follows:
Respondent had represented a number of Yugoslavian nationals who had been recommended to him by Sebrit Sulejmani, a Yugoslavian who owned numerous apartments in Paterson and rented them to fellow countrymen. Many of these clients spoke little or no English. Sulejmani was their interpreter and spokesman. He would accompany them to respondent's office and interpret for them respondent's explanations of anticipated and pending legal actions.
As respondent's law practice grew and his courtroom obligations increased, he began to rely more and more upon Sulejmani to contact these Yugoslavian clients. Many did not have telephones and would not respond to letters. On occasion,
respondent would have Sulejmani deliver legal correspondence to them and have them answer the questions or sign forms necessary for the legal action.
In October, 1980 respondent requested Sulejmani to assist in contacting Mazar Dauti, one of respondent's Yugoslavian clients, to obtain Dauti's signature on an affidavit. The affidavit stated that Dauti did not own an automobile and was entitled to no-fault benefits from the operator of a motor vehicle which had injured Dauti in an accident. Sulejmani returned the affidavit bearing Dauti's signature to respondent. However, it was not notarized. Respondent affixed his jurat as witnessing Dauti's signature. He then submitted the affidavit to an insurance company to obtain no-fault benefits for Dauti. Respondent engaged in similar conduct in two other instances: in April 1981 with client Husni Marovic and in January 1982 with client Shebrit Doko.
Respondent and two others were later indicted by a Passaic County grand jury. On November 15, 1985 respondent pleaded guilty to three counts of that indictment which charged him with the fourth degree crime of falsifying records, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:21-4a. The language of the indictment to which respondent specifically pleaded states in relevant part: