The Disciplinary Review Board having recommended to the Court that JOHN S. POWER of BRIELLE, who was admitted to the bar in 1966, be suspended from the practice of law for three years for his violation of DR 1-102(A)(1), (3), (5), and (6), which arose out of his plea of guilty to obstructing the administration of law (N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1);
And respondent, by his attorney, having informed the Court that he is not contesting the imposition of the recommended sanction;
And good cause appearing;
It is ORDERED that the report of the Disciplinary Review Board is adopted, and JOHN S. POWER is suspended from the practice of law for three years and until the further Order of the Court, effective May 1, 1989; and it is further
Ordered that respondent be restrained and enjoined from practicing law during the period of his suspension and that he comply with Administrative Guideline No. 23 of the Office of Attorney Ethics dealing with suspended attorneys; and it is further
Ordered that respondent reimburse the Ethics Financial Committee for appropriate administrative costs.
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 on a Motion for Final Discipline Based Upon a Criminal Conviction filed by the Office of Attorney Ethics ("OAE"). R. 1:20-6(b)(2)(i). Respondent pleaded guilty to the disorderly persons offense of obstructing the law, in contravention of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1.
Respondent was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1966. In January 1984, a Monmouth County Grand Jury filed a 101-count indictment against respondent and 18 co-defendants in connection with a conspiracy to commit numerous criminal acts. Respondent was charged in nine counts (counts 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 17, 90, and 101).*fn1 Those counts involved: (a) conspiracy to commit crimes of the second, third and fourth degrees, as follows: theft, arson, falsification of records, cruelty to animals, perjury, false swearing, criminal mischief, hindering apprehension or prosecution, terroristic threats, criminal coercion, witness tampering, fabrication of evidence, compounding race-fixing, and rigging publicly exhibited contest (count one); (b) conspiracy to commit the crimes of racketeering involving the use of firearms and the use of violence (count two); (c) racketeering activity involving crimes of violence and the use of firearms (count three); (d) forgery of two Smith-Barney Harris Upham Company Insurance Brokerage checks in the amount of $5,634.20 and $4,600.41 (counts seven and eight); (e) theft of $10,234.61 paid by Smith-Barney as proceeds from a margin account opened on the basis of stolen ATT stock certificates (count nine); (f) theft of insurance proceeds in the amount of $22,000.00 by drawing trust account checks falsely indicating that the funds related to the purchase of a horse (count 17); and (g) tampering with witnesses (counts 90 and 101).
The main target of the indictment, Daniel Chansky ("Chansky"), a licensed groom and horse trainer, had been respondent's client for many years. The indictment charged, among other things, that Chansky, respondent, and others were involved
in a complex insurance scheme centering on the destruction of motor vehicles and the killing of nine thoroughbred racehorses. More specifically, the indictment charged that Chansky, single-handedly or with others, hid or destroyed motor vehicles and boats in order to illegally collect insurance proceeds. It charged, also, that Chansky was involved in a scheme in connection with fictitious sales of thoroughbred horses. Chansky would "sell" horses to a buyer who, in turn, would write him a check -- ordinarily covered by cash provided by Chansky -- bearing an inflated sales price in order to obtain high insurance coverage for the horses. Shortly after the insurance was obtained, the horses died of alleged accidental or natural causes. As stated in the indictment, Chansky, alone or aided by others, killed nine racehorses by either placing a plastic sealed bag over the horse's head, thus causing suffocation; or by breaking the horse's neck and wedging it under the side of the barn; or by shooting the horse's heart with a bow and arrow, removing the arrow and then shoving a rake handle in the wound. Pursuant to the indictment, the foregoing violent acts were intended to give the appearance that the horses' deaths had been accidental or natural so Chansky could collect the insurance proceeds obtained on the basis of the inflated values.
On April 26, 1985, Chansky was sentenced on 29 counts of the indictment to 24 years in the New Jersey State Prison with a ten-year parole ineligibility stipulation.
The day before, April 25, 1985, pursuant to a plea agreement, respondent entered a plea of guilty to the disorderly persons offense of obstructing the administration of law, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1. In exchange for his guilty plea, the prosecutor's office recommended ...