In The Matter Of Jeffrey Toman An Attorney At Law
Argued: November 15, 2018
A. Brodsky Chief Counsel
DISCIPLINARY REVIEW BOARD BONNIE C. FROST, CHAIR
Horton appeared on behalf of the Office of Attorney Ethics.
did not appear, despite proper notice.
Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme
Court of New Jersey.
matter was before us on a motion for final discipline filed
by the Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE), pursuant to
R. 1:20-13, following respondent's plea of
nolo contendere in the Lackawanna County Court of
Common Pleas, Pennsylvania, to first-degree misdemeanor
corruption of a minor. The OAE recommended respondent's
reasons set forth below, we determined to grant the motion
for final discipline and to recommend respondent's
was admitted to the New Jersey and Pennsylvania bars in 2010.
He has no history of discipline. On June 4, 2018,
respondent's license to practice law in New Jersey was
administratively revoked for his failure to pay the annual
assessment to the New Jersey Lawyers' Fund for Client
Protection (the Fund) for seven consecutive
March 16, 2017, respondent appeared in the Lackawanna County
Court of Common Pleas and pleaded nolo contendere to
first-degree misdemeanor corruption of a minor. Beginning on July
1, 2015, respondent engaged in sexual activity via text
messages with a fourteen-year-old female (I.S.). Respondent
requested I.S. to send photos of herself while she wore
little clothing or a bikini, discussed topics of a sexual
nature, and sent her pictures of his genitalia. Respondent
was introduced to I.S. through her mother, whom he was
representing in a child custody proceeding against I.S.'s
27, 2017, respondent was sentenced to incarceration in the
Lackawanna County Prison for a term of six months to
twenty-three months. I.S. told the court that
respondent's sexually predatory behavior had a "huge
negative impact on her life;" that respondent took
advantage of her at a particularly vulnerable time, when he
was supposed to be representing her mother in a legal matter;
and that the repercussions of respondent's conduct would
affect her for the rest of her life.
turn, I.S.'s mother requested that respondent serve
prison time. She emphasized that respondent took advantage of
the trust she had placed in him her attorney and that
respondent had destroyed their lives with "no ounce of
of his sentence, respondent was required to submit to a
mental health evaluation and a drug and alcohol evaluation,
and to refrain from contact with the victim. The judge agreed
to consider work release or home arrest at an appropriate
time in the future, but required that the sentence be served
immediately at the Lackawanna County Prison. Five months
later, on November 22, 2017, the judge granted
respondent's Petition for Home Confinement.
March 26, 2018, the Pennsylvania Office of Disciplinary
Counsel (ODC) and respondent filed a Joint Petition in
Support of Discipline on Consent (Joint Petition) before the
Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The
Joint Petition sought a three-year suspension, retroactive to
the date of respondent's temporary suspension in
Pennsylvania (October 8, 2017). The Petition asserted, in
mitigation, that respondent was convicted of a single,
first-degree misdemeanor offense; he accepted prison time as
part of his sentence; he willingly consented to suspension
beyond one year and one day, which will require him to
petition for reinstatement prior to resuming the practice of
law; he has no ethics history; he did not have physical
contact with the minor; and he does not hold public office.
9, 2018, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania granted the Joint
Petition and suspended respondent for three years,
retroactive to October 8, 2017.
support of its recommendation for disbarment, the OAE cited
the Court's May 24, 2017 consolidated opinion in In
re Legato, 229 N.J. 173 (2017). The Court's decision
encompassed three disciplinary matters in respect of three
attorneys (Legato, Kenyon, and Walter). In sum, the Court
ordered an indeterminate suspension for Legato and Kenyon,
and disbarred Walter. Legato and Kenyon targeted persons
online whom they believed to be underage children, but who
were undercover police officers. Those attorneys never met
with the "children" or caused any actual harm.
Id. at 186. Walter, however, was disbarred because
his misconduct involved more ...