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Christopher Lindsey Kleppin passed the February 1998 bar examination for the District of Columbia and is an applicant for admission to the bar. The Committee on Admissions (Committee) has recommended his admission despite the fact that in January 1992 Kleppin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute marijuana under Maryland state law, for which he was sentenced to a year of incarceration (six months of which was suspended in favor of lengthy probation). In 1996 Kleppin passed the Florida bar examination, but in 1998 he was denied admission to that bar.

D.C. App. R. 46 provides that bar applicants must demonstrate good moral character and fitness to practice law in the District of Columbia. In reviewing the Committee’s determination that an applicant has met that burden, and its accompanying recommendation for admission, “[t]his court will accept findings of fact made by the Committee unless they are unsupported by substantial evidence of record, will make due allowance for the Committee’s opportunity to observe and evaluate the demeanor of the applicant where relevant, and will afford the Committee’s recommendations some deference . . . .” In re Mustafa, 631 A.2d 45, 47 (D.C. 1993) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

“[A] criminal conviction does not per se require exclusion of the applicant from the Bar.” In re Sobin, 649 A.2d 589, 591 (D.C. 1994). But our decisions reflect the difficulty of determining what “proof of the requisite rehabilitation following conviction of a serious crime” will suffice to justify admission. In re Polin, 630 A.2d 1140, 1141 (D.C. 1993) (Polin II); compare, e.g., Sobin, supra (admitting applicant) with Mustafa, supra (denying admission). We therefore benefit from – and give corresponding deference to – painstaking analysis of the application such as the Committee engaged in in this case. Moreover, as when we impose attorney discipline, our decisions regarding admission must aim to treat like cases alike. Cf. D.C. Bar R. XI, � 9 (g)(1) (the court “shall adopt the recommended disposition of the Board [on Professional Responsibility] unless to do so would foster a tendency toward inconsistent dispositions for comparable conduct”).

 
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