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Matter of Valentin

February 21, 1997

IN THE MATTER OF FRANK VALENTIN, AN ATTORNEY AT LAW.


Chief Justice Poritz and Justices Handler, Pollock, Garibaldi, and Coleman join in the Court's opinion. Justice O'Hern has filed a separate Dissenting opinion in which Justice Stein joins.

(This syllabus is not part of the opinion of the Court. It has been prepared by the Office of the Clerk for the convenience of the reader. It has been neither reviewed nor approved by the Supreme Court. Please note that, in the interests of brevity, portions of any opinion may not have been summarized).

In the Matter of Frank Valentin, An Attorney at Law (D-37-96)

Argued January 6, 1997 -- Decided February 21, 1997

PER CURIAM

This is an attorney disciplinary case.

The Office of Attorney Ethics ("OAE") filed a Motion for Reciprocal Discipline with the Disciplinary Review Board ("DRB") seeking the disbarment of Staten Island attorney, Frank Valentin, who was admitted to practice in New Jersey in 1988. The OAE's application was based on Valentin's disbarment by the State of New York, which followed his 1993 criminal conviction for the sale of more than one pound of cocaine. On January 30, 1995, as a result of his conviction, the Supreme Court entered an order temporarily suspending Valentin. He remains suspended to date. In its report to the Supreme Court, the DRB recommended that Valentin be disbarred.

The Supreme Court issued an Order to Show Cause pursuant to R. 1:20-16(a).

HELD: Valentin's disbarment in the State of New York for his criminal conviction for the sale of more than one pound of cocaine warrants his disbarment from the practice of law in New Jersey for the reasons expressed in the DRB's report.

Justice O'HERN filed a separate Dissenting opinion, in which JUSTICE STEIN joins, setting forth the view that this case merits less severe treatment. Specifically, because of Valentin's difficult past culminating in his drug addiction, the Dissent would suspend him for a period of seven years (the period of time after which a disbarred attorney in New York may apply for reinstatement) to allow Valentin an opportunity to rehabilitate himself, after which he could reapply for admission to the New Jersey bar.

CHIEF JUSTICE PORITZ and JUSTICES HANDLER, POLLOCK, GARIBALDI and COLEMAN join in the Court's opinion. JUSTICE O'HERN has filed a separate Dissenting opinion in which JUSTICE STEIN joins.

On an Order to show cause why respondent should not be disbarred or otherwise disciplined.

PER CURIAM

Pursuant to Rule 1:20-14(a)(4), the Office of Attorney Ethics filed a Motion for Reciprocal Discipline with the Disciplinary Review Board seeking the disbarment of respondent Frank Valentin. The application was based on respondent's disbarment by New York, which action followed his criminal conviction for the sale of more than one pound of cocaine.

In a report that is appended to this opinion, the Disciplinary Review Board recommended that respondent be disbarred. The Court adopts the Board's report and directs that respondent be disbarred.

So Ordered.

Chief Justice Poritz and Justices Handler, Pollock, Garibaldi, and Coleman join in the Court's opinion. Justice O'Hern has filed a separate ...


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