CT- Grievance Complaint #04-1016, Baxter, Melinda v. DeLeo, Stephen J

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CT- Grievance Complaint #04-1016, Baxter, Melinda v. DeLeo, Stephen J Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                STATE OF CONNECTICUT
                                                                     JUDICIAL BRANCH


STATEWIDE GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE
Michael P. Bowler, Statewide Bar Counsel                                             287 Main Street
                                                                            Second Floor - Suite Two
                                                                       East Hanford, cr 06118-1885
                                                                  (860) 568-5157 Fax (860) 568-4953
                                                        Judicial Branch Website: www.jud.state.ct.us



Attorney Mark Dubois                              Attorney Stephen J. DeLeo
Chief Disciplinary Counsel                        43 Crescent Street
100 Washington Street                             Suite 20
Hartford, CT 06106                                Stamford, CT 06906

RE:    Grievance Complaint #04-1016, Baxter v. DeLeo

Dear Chief Disciplinary Counsel and Respondent:

        Pursuant to Practice Book §2-82(b), the undersigned, duly-appointed reviewing
committee of the Statewide Grievance Committee, has reviewed the Admission of Misconduct
and Agreement as to Disposition filed May 5, 2008 and submitted for approval in the above
referenced matter. After careful consideration of the Admission of Misconduct and Agreement
as to Disposition, the affidavit of the Respondent submitted pursuant to Practice Book §2-82(d)
and the entire record, and after conducting a hearing pursuant to Practice Book §2-82(b) on
March 5, 2008, the undersigned hereby APPROVE the Admission of Misconduct and
Agreement as to Disposition, a copy of which is attached hereto. Accordingly, the disposition
agreed to by the ChiefDisciplinary Counsel and the Respondent in the above referenced matter
and set forth in the Admission and of Misconduct and Agreement as to Disposition is hereby
made an order of this reviewing committee. The Respondent is reprimanded. In addition,
Attorney DeLeo will pay $2035.00 in restitution to the Complainant. Such payment shall be
made on a schedule of $300.00 per month, beginning in April 2008 and continuing until the .
$2035.00 is fully paid. Each payment shall be due on the first day of the month. Attorney
DeLeo will provide the Statewide Grievance Committee with written confirmation of his
completion of each payment within ten days of payment. Attorney DeLeo will attend in-person
and at his own expense, three continuing legal education classes, each valued at three credit
hours, in the areas of professional responsibility or legal ethics and law office management, by
March 5,2009. Attorney DeLeo will provide the Statewide Grievance Committee with written
confirmation of his compliance with this condition within thirty days of completion of the
continuing legal education courses.
Grievance Complaint #04-1016
Decision
Page 2

       Pursuant to Practice Book §3-14 et. seq., legal interns KatWeen Claussen and Robert
Heberle of tbe Yale Law School Lawyering Ethics Project assisted in tbe presentation of this
matter under tbe supervision of Chief Disciplinary Counsel Mark A. Dubois.

       Reviewing committee member William Carroll was not available for tbe March 5,2008
hearing. The Chief Disciplinary Counsel and the Respondent waived the participation of Mr.
Carroll in the consideration and decision of tbe Admission of Misconduct and Agreement as to
Disposition. Accordingly, the matter was considered and decided by tbe undersigned.

       So ordered.

Enc.
cc:    Melinda Baxter
       Attorney Eugene Riccio


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Grievance Complaint #04-1016
Decision
Page 3
Grievance Complaint #04-1016
Decision
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             CONNECTICUT STATEWIDE GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE

                         GRIEVANCE COMPLAINT NO. 04-1016


MELINDA BAXTER,
     Complainant

       v.

STEPHEN 1. DELEO,
     Respondent


     ADl\fiSSION OF l\fiSCONDUCT AND AGREEMENT AS TO DISPOSITION


Pursuant to Practice Book § 2-82, the undersigned Resporident and Disciplinary Counsel
stipulate and agree as follows:

I.      This matter was instituted by grievance complaint filed by the Complainant, Melinda
      . Baxter, on October 16, 2004.

2.     On February 8, 2005, the Grievance Panel for the Judicial District of
       StamfordINorwalk found probable· cause that Attorney DeLeo violated Connecticut
       Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) and (b) (Communication),
       1.5(a) (Reasonable Fees) and 1.15(c) (SafekeepingProperty) and Connecticut
       Practice Book § 2-32(a)(I)(Failure to Respond to Grievance Complaint) in relation
       to his representation of Complainant.

3.      Attorney DeLeo has tendered an admission of misconduct in accordance with his
        affidavit attached hereto, admitting that he violated Rules 1.3, 1.4(a) and (b), 1.5(a)
        and 1.15(c) of the Connecticut Rules of Professional Conduct and § 2-32(a)(I) of the
      . Connecticut Practice Book.

4.     This grievance arose from Attorney DeLeo's conduct regarding his retention by
       Complainant to file a sentence modification request on behalfof Danny Turkvan.

5.     Attorney DeLeo's client, Danny Turkvan, was at all rele.vant times incarcerated at
       Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Uncasville, Connecticut.

6.     Despite his acceptance from Complainant of a preliminary fee of $268.00 and a
       retainer of $2000.00, Attorney DeLeo never attempted to contaCt Mr. Turkvan.

7.     Attorney DeLeo violated Rules 1.3, l.4(a) and (b), 1.5(a) and l.l5(c}by accepting
                         Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel
                                    100 Washington St.
                                    Hartford, CT 06106
                          Tel: 860-706-5055 Fax: 860-706-5063
      Complainant's funds while failing to prepare or file the sentence modification
      request, failing to contact Mr. Tuman, and failing to respond to repeated inquiries,
      by Complainant regarding the Status of the case.

8.    Attorney DeLeo violated § 2-32(a)(1) of the Connecticut Practice Book by failing to
      respond to the grievance complaint filed against.him by Complainant, despite two
      requests in writing by Counsel for the Grievance Panel for the Judicial District of
      Stamford/Norwalk.

9.    Attorney DeLeo has been admitted to practice in Connecticufsince 1998.

10.   Attorney DeLeo has no prior disciplinary history.

11.   Disciplinary Counsel and Attorney DeLeo agree that the Disciplinary Counsel will
      recommend that this grievance complaint be resolved subject to each of the
      following conditions:

           1) Attorney DeLeo will accept a reprimand with regard to this complaint.
           2) Attorney DeLeo will pay $2035.00 in restitution to Complainant Baxter.
               Such payment shall be made on a schedule of$300.00 per month, beginning
               in April 2008 and continuing until the $2035.00 is fully paid. Each payment
               shall be due on the first day of the month. These payments shall be for the'
               same underlying debt that AttomeyDeLeo now owes Complainant as a
               result ofa civiljudgment against him. Attorney DeLeo will provide the
               Statewide Grievance Committee with written confmnation of his
               completion of each payment within ten days ofpayment.
           3) Attorney DeLeo will attend in-person and at his own expense, three
             . continuing legal education classes, each valued at three credit hours, in the
               areas ofprofessional responsibility or legai ethics and law office
               management, by March 5, 2009. AttOrney DeLeo will provide the Statewide
               Grievance Committee with written confirmation of his compliance with this
               condition within thirty days of completion of the continuing legal education
               courses.


12.   Complainant Baxter has been advised ofthis Admission of Misconduct and
      Affidavit, and will be afforded an opportunity to be heard on the issue of discipline
      before the Committee.                        .




                        Office, of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel
                                    I00 Washington St.
                                    Hartford, CT 06106
                         Tel: 860-706-5055 Fax: 860-706-5063
       WHEREFORE, this rna' is submitted to the Committee for its approval in
accordance with Practice Book § 2(a).




                           By:
Date




                           By:    Respondent


1--,-3\ <)\ O~                           l~ tJ-    Y1<!h,£
                                            ttomey Stephen J. DeLeo
                                                                   .
Date




                        Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel
                                   100 Washington St.·
                                   Hartford, CT 06106
                         Tel: 860-706-5055 Fax: 860-706-5063
                              AFFIDAVIT OF RESPONDENT


STATE OF CONNECTICUT                   )
                                       )       SS: STAMFORD
COUNTY OF FAIRFIELD                    )



       I am over the age of 18 and believe in the obligation ofan oath. Pursuant to Practice

Book § 2-82, I make the following affidavit:

I.     The Admission of Misconduct and Agreement as to Discipline attached hereto and
       made a part hereof are voluntarily submitted.

2.     I am aware that I have a right to a full hearing on this matter with the assistance of an
       attorney and I waive that right by entering into this agreement.

3.     I have been neither subject to coercion nor duress and 1am fully aware ofthe
       consequences ofthis Affidavit and Admission of Misconduct and Agreement as to
       Discipline.

4.·    I am aware ofthe current proceeding regarding my violation of Rules of Professional
       Conduct 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4 (a) and (b)(Communication), 1.5(a) (Reasonable Fees)
       and 1.15(c) (Safekeeping Property) and Practice Book § 2-32(a)(l) as it specifically
       reiates to my actions with regard to my retention by Melinda Baxter to file a sentence
       modification request on behalf of Danny Turkvan.

5.     This grievance arose from my conduct regarding my acceptance of a $2000.00
       retainer from Melinda Baxter to file a sentence modifi.cation request on behalf of
       Danny Turkvan.

6.     I was aware that 1had been retained to represent Danny Turkvan·in the matter of his
       sentence modification request, but I had no contact with Mr. Turkvan and did not
       prepare or file the request on his behalf. I eventually ceased communicating with
       Complainant as well, and did not return her $2000.00 retainer as requested.

7.     I acknowledge my failure to respond to the grievance complaint filed against me by
       Melinda Baxter, as required under Practice book § 2-32(a)(I).

8.     I agree that I violated Rules 1.3, 1.4(a) and (b), 1.5(a) and 1.15(c) as well as Practice
       Book § 2-32(a)(1) through my failure adequately to communicate with Danny
       Turkvan and Melinda Baxter, my fuilure to represent Mr. Turkvan with reasonable
       diligence and my failure to respond to the. grievance complaint filed against me.

                          Office ofthe Chief Disciplinary Counsel
                                    I00 Washington St.
                                    Hartford, CT 06106
                           Tel: 860-706-5055 Fax: 860-706-5063
·   .

    9.        I agree to repay $2035.00 to Melinda Baxter on a payment schedule of $300.00 per
            , month, beginning in April 2008, due on the first day of each month, and continuing
              until the entire amount is paid. I agree to provide the Statewide Grievance
              Committee with written confIrmation ofmy completion'of each payment within ten
              days ofsaid payment.

    10.       I agree and understand that Disciplinary Counsel is recommending that I personally
              attend three continuing legal education classes, each valued at three credit hoUIS; in
              the areas ofprofessional responsibility or legal ethics and law office management
              before March 5, 2009. I agree to provide the Statewide Grievance Committee with
              written confIrmation ofmy compliance with this requirement within thirty days of
              completion ofthe continuing legal education courses.

    11.       I consent to the recommendation of Disciplinary Counsel that I receive a reprimand
              from the StateWide Grievance Committee with regard to this matter.




                                                        k=~-()t!~
                                                    ATTORNE STEPHEN J. DELEO




    Subscribed and sworn to before me

    this   <{A-day of JVf I\..--,/" , 2008.

    LIz.... /



                                 Office.ofthe Chief Disciplinary Counsel
                                           100 Washington St.
                                           Hartford, CT 06106
                                  Tel: 860-706-5055 Fax: 860-706-5063
                                 CERTIFICATION

      I hereby certifY that a !I}le copy of the foregoing Admission ofMisconduct and
Agreement to Discipline ~ailed by first class maIl, postage prepaid on this 51]( day
of -----M,a~ ,2008 to the following:


Complainant Melinda Baxter
40 Stillwater Ave
Stamford, CT 06902

Respondent Stephen DeLeo
43 Crescent St, Suite 20
Stamford, CT 06906




                                                       -
                       Office ofthe Chief Disciplinary Counsel
                                 100 Washington St.
                                 Hartford, CT 06106
                        Tel: 860-706-5055 Fax: 860-706-5063