Some lawyers and judges found themselves in big trouble this year. Strippers, bribes, phony billings and prostitutes were a few of the career cripplers for jurists and practitioners in 2010. We’ve highlighted some of the low points.
In November, Senior U.S. District Judge Jack Camp Jr. resigned from the bench in Georgia after pleading guilty to helping an exotic dancer obtain cocaine and other drugs. The dancer, who performed at the Goldrush Showbar in Atlanta, turned out to be a government informant. Camp was arrested after he bought drugs from another informant in a Publix supermarket parking lot in Atlanta. He had two handguns on the front seat of his car. Camp, 67 at the time of his arrest, was appointed to the bench in 1987.
The State Bar of Arizona in October filed papers seeking the disbarment of attorney Charna Johnson for allegedly telling a client that she was “channeling” messages from the client’s wife, who had committed suicide. According to a hearing officer’s report, Johnson told her client that his wife had come to her, that the wife’s spirit was inside her and that she could communicate his wife’s thoughts. The Arizona Supreme Court’s decision on the state bar’s recommendation for disbarment is pending.
The U.S. Senate in December voted to convict U.S. District Judge Thomas Porteous in New Orleans for taking bribes from lawyers and bondsmen. Porteous is one of only eight judges in U.S. history voted out by the Senate, a determination that came after the House of Representatives approved four articles of impeachment. The House determined that gambling problems plagued the judge, who was 63 at the time of his ouster. The last federal judge convicted was Walter Nixon from Mississippi in 1989.
The Indiana Supreme Court in December publicly reprimanded Barnes & Thornburg attorney Hiroaki Nishikawara for patronizing a prostitute. He was charged with violating the Indiana Rule of Professional Conduct that prohibits attorneys from committing criminal acts that reflect adversely on a lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer. Nishikawara, of counsel to the firm, entered a plea agreement on a class A misdemeanor.
A county court judge in Nebraska was ejected from the bench in July after he tried to thwart the prosecution of the softball coach for his daughter’s team. Judge Kent Florom, also the assistant coach of the team, tried to negotiate a deal for the coach, who was charged with stealing $900 from her school’s booster club. In addition, the former judge said that those who tried to fire the North Platte Sensations’ coach would be making an enemy of him.
Former Greenberg Traurig associate Michael Shaw surrendered his law license in November after submitting nearly $500,000 in fake billing statements under an assumed name. Shaw, who voluntarily turned over his license, used the fictitious name of an independent investigator on invoices for work on bankruptcy cases. He also submitted invoices for phony title-examination services. Greenberg Traurig fired him after June 2009, when it learned of his conduct.
Contact Leigh Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.