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In re Jadeja

Supreme Court of New Jersey

July 6, 2018

IN THE MATTER OF RAJSHAKTISINH D. JADEJA AN ATTORNEY AT LAW

          Argued: March 15, 2018

         District Docket No. XIV-2015-0501E

          Hillary K. Horton appeared on behalf of the Office of Attorney Ethics.

          James M. McGovern, Jr. appeared on behalf of respondent.

          Ellen A. Brodsky Chief Counsel

          DECISION

         To the Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

         This matter was before us on a motion for final discipline filed by the Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE), pursuant to R.11:20-13(c), following respondent's guilty plea in the Supreme Court of New York, Nassau County, to second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, driving under the influence of alcohol, and driving while impaired by a combination of alcohol and drugs.

         The OAE requested that we impose a one- to two-year suspension. Respondent urged us to impose a one-year suspension, retroactive to June 7, 2017, the effective date of his temporary suspension. We determine to impose a two-year, retroactive suspension.

         Respondent was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 2006. Although he has no prior, final discipline, on June 7, 2017, the Court temporarily suspended him after he pleaded guilty to the conduct underlying this matter. In re Jadeia, 229 N.J. 298 (2017) .

         On March 16, 2017, respondent pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court of New York, County of Nassau, before the Honorable Christopher Quinn, Acting Supreme Court Justice, to four counts of a twelve-count indictment, as follows: (1) count eight: manslaughter in the second degree, a violation of Penal Law 125.15, subdivision one, as a class C felony; (2) count nine: assault in the second degree, a violation of Penal Law 120.05, subdivision four, as a class D violent felony? (3) count one: operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, as an unclassified misdemeanor under the Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) 1192.2; and (4) count four: operating a motor vehicle while impaired by the combined use of alcohol and drugs, an unclassified misdemeanor of VTL 1192.4(a).

         On September 15, 2015, after drinking in New York City, and while under the influence of alcohol and Xanax, respondent drove his automobile onto the Long Island Expressway. At Exit 46, while respondent was driving in the high occupancy vehicle lane, his car collided with a vehicle driven by twenty-one year old student George Ragotte, who had stopped his car to avoid a collision with two vehicles that had just been involved in an unrelated accident ahead of him. Ragotte died from his injuries.

         At respondent's plea hearing, Justice Quinn elicited the following facts:

THE COURT: On or about September 19, 2015, were you present in the County of Nassau, State of New York?
[RESPONDENT]: Yes.
THE COURT: Were you operating a vehicle at that time?
[RESPONDENT]: Yes, I was.
THE COURT: Where was that and do you recall what town it was?
[RESPONDENT]: Exit 46, Plainview.
THE COURT: Was that on the Long Island Expressway?
[RESPONDENT]: 11 was.
THE COURT: During the operation of the vehicle, had you consumed some alcoholic beverage?
[RESPONDENT]: Yes.
THE COURT: Do you recall what you were drinking ...

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