IN THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA
THE FLORIDA BAR,
v. CASE NO.: SC06-1948
TFB NO. 2006-31,651 (07B)
GREGG ADAM STEINBERG,
REPLY BRIEF OF RESPONDENT
ROBERT STUART WILLIS, ESQUIRE
Willis, Ferebee & Hutton
Florida Bar No.: 153152
503 East Monroe Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
Attorney for Respondent
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS ...................................................... i
TABLE OF CITATIONS ...................................................... ii
ARGUMENT ...................................................................... 1
I. AGGRAVATING FACTORS ............................... 3
II. PERSONAL/EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS............ 5
III. THE RECOMMENDED DISCIPLINE LACKS
A REASONABLE BASIS IN EXISTING
CASE LAW.................................................... 7
CONCLUSION ................................................................... 14
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE ............................................. 15
CERTIFICATION OF FONT SIZE AND STYLE ............... 15
TABLE OF CITATIONS
The Florida Bar v. Broome, 932 So.2d 1036, 1043 (Fla. 2006) ....... 8
The Florida Bar v. Cibula, 725 So.2d 360 (Fla. 1998) ..................... 9,10
The Florida Bar v. Colclough, 561 So.2d 1147 (Fla. 1990) ............. 13
The Florida Bar v. Del Pino, 955 So.2d 556 (Fla. 2007) ................. 7,8,9
The Florida Bar v. Langston, 540 So.2d 118 (Fla. 1989) ................ 12,13
The Florida Bar v. McNamara , 634 So.2d 166 (Fla. 1994) ............ 5
The Florida Bar v. Patarini , 548 So.2d 1110 (Fla. 1989) ................ 11,12
The Florida Bar v. Robinson, 654 So.2d 554 (Fla. 1995) ................ 7
The Florida Bar v. Tauler, 775 So.2d 944, 946 (Fla. 2000) .............. 4
The Florida Bar v. Wishart, 543 So.2d 1250 (Fla. 1989) .................. 10,11
Florida Standards for Imposing Law Sanctions 9.32e ....................... 4,5
The fundamental areas of disagreement in this case have to do with the
treatment of aggravating factors, mitigating factors, and whether the recommended
discipline has a reasonable basis in existing case law.1 However, there is a preliminary
matter that requires discussion before the more particularized discussion of those
issues. Respondent has noted that at two points in The Bar=s Answer Brief (P.2 and
P.16), The Bar has made reference to the Respondent=s Aexcuse@ for his misconduct.
Any such characterization or argument based on that characterization is a wholesale
departure from the record. At no point has the Respondent ever referred to his
devotion to his daughter or his marital problems as basis upon which conduct should
be Aexcused@ or not wrongful and deserving of discipline. It is important to be
reminded that his testimony was explicit and directly contrary to any such
Before I give my answer to this, I want everybody to
know that I accept full responsibility. I=m not blaming
anybody else. I=m not blaming the circumstances. I=m not
saying my ex-wife or Mr. Cothren pushed me to do it. I
did it and I know it=s my fault.
I just want to make sure that whatever I say in the
next two minutes everybody understands that. I don=t want
any of my comments to be misinterpreted or misconstrued
because I=m not pointing the finger of blame at anybody but
Because of space limitation and to avoid repetition, Respondent has addressed only those
issues that required further discussion and were not otherwise adequately addressed in those briefs
me. ... It=s my responsibility. (T2. 27-28)
As noted in Respondent=s Initial Brief, it appears that the Referee may have also
misperceived the evidence regarding the context in which this misconduct occurred.
She ruled on an objection regarding the circumstances surrounding the issuance of a
subpoena and commented AI mean, frankly there is limited relevance ... there is some
relevance but there is limited relevance to the circumstances surrounding the issuance
of a subpoena because an officer of The Florida Bar should not be issuing an
unauthorized subpoena no matter the surrounding circumstances, and we all
understand that@. (T. 54-55)
Repeating, there was never any effort to Aexcuse@ the misconduct here. Rather,
Respondent=s devotion to his step-daughter and his wife=s threat to prohibit any future
communication or contact were offered as contextual mitigation for the misconduct at
In fairness, it appears that trial counsel for the Respondent may have
inadvertently contributed to that misperception. According to the Record, the case
was set for Afinal hearing@ on February 20, 2007. Although Respondent=s answer to
The Bar Complaint admitted the acts, it did not concede that the acts violated the rules
and was deserving of discipline. Similarly, at the outset of the hearing, trial counsel
stipulated to the factual allegations against him. (T.2-4) That is, he had issued the
subpoena when there was no action for which the subpoena might have been properly
issued. But, again, he did not make explicitly clear that the surrounding circumstances
were being presented (and were relevant) as matters in mitigation, not as an Aexcuse@.
Notwithstanding the specific admission of the essential facts, there was not an
unequivocal admission of guilt.
The matter of Amitigation@ verus Aexcuse@ is not a distinction without a
difference at the Referee level or before this court. The issue here is the measure of
discipline, not whether Respondent should be disciplined at all.
I. AGGRAVATING FACTORS
A. Selfish Motive: The fundamental difference discussed above may (or may
not) have contributed to the Referee=s treatment of the aggravating/mitigating factors.
As noted in his Initial Brief and supporting case authority, Respondent has argued that
our circumstances are meaningfully different from those cases that have found or
discussed Aselfish motive@. (See, Respondent=s Initial Brief, P.21) Generally, those
cases are relegated to those instances where the conduct was motivated by greed or
desire to secure some personal profit or gain.
In its Answer Brief, rather than address that argument, The Bar has attempted
to characterize the Referee=s conclusion as a credibility choice: AShe had the
opportunity to observe Respondent=s demeanor while testifying and weighed his
credibility against the documentary evidence@. (Answer Brief, P.6) It is not clear
what Adocumentary evidence@ was being referenced. But, it is not surprising The Bar
would make that argument given the deferential standard this court employs for
findings by the Referee. See, e.g., The Florida Bar v. Tauler , 775 So.2d 944, 946
However, there is no evidence that Respondent issued the subpoena for reasons
other than the reasons he stated. The only witness called by The Bar,
Mr. Cothren, suggested no other and the witnesses called by Respondent, three Judges
and a former State Attorney, were wholly corroborative. There is no dispute in the
Thus, it remains for this court to decide whether the conduct, in context, may
be fairly characterized as having arisen from a Aselfish motive@ and, if so, what weight
it should be given.
B. Mitigating Evidence: The Referee=s Report neither discussed nor made any
findings regarding the application Standard 9.32e, Afull and free disclosure to
disciplinary board or cooperative attitude towards proceeding@. Respondent fully
admitted the misconduct in his initial response to The Bar inquiry, provided a copy of
the subpoena that did not appear in any court file, and fully admitted his misconduct at
the time of hearing. That is seemingly clear and certainly unrefuted evidence
comporting with Standard 9.32e.
In its Answer Brief, The Bar cites no case for its position that because, in its
view, Respondent made no Aextraordinary efforts to cooperate with The Bar=s
investigation@, that Standard should not apply. There is no citation of authority
because there is no authority for The Bar=s position. The language of the Standard is
clear and unambiguous as is its application to our facts.
On this Record, it would therefore be entirely consistent with this court=s
precedent to make that finding where, like here, there has been no consideration given
by the Referee. The Florida Bar v. McNamara , 634 So.2d 166 (Fla. 1994).
II. PERSONAL/EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS
As to this issue, again, The Bar=s Answer Brief attempts to defend the
Referee=s Report as a credibility choice, i.e., AThe Referee clearly considered
Respondent=s testimony to be less than credible and weighed it accordingly. Although
Respondent testified that he was distraught about his marital problems,
the Record contains contradictions regarding the extent of his emotional distress and
whether this was a motivation for his actions.@ (T. 74, 76, 93, 96-97, 107-108, 116,
124-125; T.2 30; FB Exh. 2)
The cited portions are provided in the attached Index. There are no
contradictions presented by the cited portions of the record.
Indeed, the Referee specifically found that Ait is indisputable that, at the time of
the offense, Respondent was distraught because of marital conflict and because
of his inability to see his wife=s daughter@. (ROR 14-15)
Nevertheless, the Referee concluded that these circumstances provided only
Alimited mitigation@ because Anumerous attorneys@ have emotional divorces yet do not
Thus, the question here is what weight to be given to the extreme and
compelling evidence of serious emotional distress. That would seem to be less of a
factual resolution than a matter inhering in the judgment of what is an appropriate
sanction. It is certainly not a matter of credibility choices. In addition to the
Respondent=s testimony, three sitting Judges and a former State Attorney (and friend)
testified to these same circumstances. While The Bar wished to attribute the
misconduct to some baser motive, the evidence is clearly otherwise.
III. THE RECOMMENDED DISCIPLINE LACKS A
REASONABLE BASIS IN EXISTING CASE LAW
In his Initial Brief, Respondent described how those cases cited by the Referee
did not support the recommended discipline. The Referee cited cases involving
perjury before the court, inducing a client to become a hit man or goon to assault or
otherwise intimidate his estranged wife=s new boyfriend, forging final judgments of
eviction, and lying to the court and The Bar about responsibility therefor, and, over a
period of months, impersonating another lawyer by signing his name to pleadings and
representing himself to be that lawyer to opposing counsel. Those cases have nothing
in common with the circumstances here.
That is important because, clearly, this court=s development of case authority
dealing with lawyer discipline has involved a conscious, explicit effort to compare
Aapples@ with Aapples@. See, for example, The Florida Bar v. Del Pino, 955 So.2d 556
(Fla. 2007) (concluding that the facts before the court were Amore akin@ to [cited
cases] than to the cases cited by the Referee); see also, The Florida Bar v. Robinson,
654 So.2d 554 (Fla. 1995).
While many of the cases cited by the Referee may have arisen in the context of
a difficult domestic dispute, the similarities end there. We have no perjury, no hit man
or goon, no repeated impersonations of another lawyer, and no forged judgments or
subsequent lying to the court and The Bar.
In today=s common parlance, this case is what it is, but no more. The
Respondent, desperate to preserve his relationship with his young step-daughter,
issued a subpoena duces tecum on a non-existent case to secure cellular telephone
records. These same records could have lawfully been acquired in the context of the
divorce action and, indeed, the subject of the records testified that he would have Ano
problem@ with that production.
That is not to trivialize the facts before the court. Rather, in accord with
The Florida Bar v. Broome, 932 So. 2d 1036, 1043 (Fla. 2006) it is merely to say that
Anot all rule violations are equal@.
In its Answer Brief, the Bar has relied upon readily distinguishable cases which
are essentially more of the same:
In The Florida Bar v. Del Pino, ante, the Respondent had been convicted of
two federal felonies B tax evasion and mail fraud and sentenced accordingly. The
presumptively correct discipline was disbarment which was the recommendation made
by the Referee.
Based in large part upon the Respondent=s difficult domestic situation, this court
concluded that the cases cited by the Referee were inapposite and distinguishable on
their facts. Accordingly, this court rejected the Referee=s recommendation and
imposed a three year suspension instead.
It is also noted that while this court affirmed a finding of Aselfish motive@ it
further found that aggravating factor was Anot entitled to substantial weight it might
command under circumstances not present here@. Del Pino 955 So.2d at 560
Importantly, however, the facts in Del Pino are readily distinguishable from ours.
The next case cited by The Bar is The Florida Bar v. Cibula, 725 So.2d 360
(Fla. 1998). There, like here, the misconduct occurred in the context of dissolution
proceedings. However, at that point, the similarity ends.
Cibula had a prior record of discipline based on previous orders of contempt
entered by the trial court. He lied to his wife about his income in order to fraudulently
induce a more favorable alimony obligation. Perhaps more importantly, he committed
perjury before the trial court by substantially understating his income, and, the motive
behind those misrepresentations was personal and financial gain.
On review, this court rightly condemned the repeated acts of lying to the court
in the strongest terms:
No breach of professional ethics, or of the law, is
more harmful to the administration of justice or more
hurtful to the public appraisal of the legal profession than
the knowledgeable use by an attorney of false testimony in
the judicial process.
Cibula, 725 So.2d at 364.
Here, Respondent has never had a single Complaint filed against him let alone
imposition of discipline. There certainly was not a financial motive. Indeed, he
conceded virtually all financial issues in the divorce in the hopes that he could thereby
retain the ability to see his step-child. And, dispositively, there were no repeated acts
of perjury before the court. Cibula is not authority for the discipline recommended by
the Referee here.
The Bar also answers with reference to The Florida Bar v. Wishart,
543 So.2d 1250 (Fla. 1989). The only common circumstance with the case at bar is
that it arose in a contentious domestic situation involving a highly emotional effort to
secure custody of Wishart=s granddaughter and/or protect her from the supposed harm
that might result from custody being awarded to the natural mother. Otherwise, there
are no facts in common. This court approved the Referee=s finding that upon
Anumerous occasions (too numerous to count)@ the Respondent asserted his personal
opinion about the justice of court rulings, the truthfulness of witnesses, opposing
counsel and reports of court counselors. Further, he Adeliberately, willfully, and
knowingly disobeyed and counseled others to disobey, orders and judgments of the
court.@ The court concluded that he Apursued a course of conduct knowingly designed
to disrupt the orderly process of the judicial system in order to serve his own ends, as
he alone defined them@. Wishart, 543 So.2d at 1251. Specifically, Wishart engaged
in exparte communications with the trial judge, defied a restraining order to return the
child, defied a direct order by the court to reveal the child=s whereabouts, and,
following final hearing which awarded custody to the natural mother, again took the
child and refused to obey a Writ of Habeas Corpus for her return. Wishart is not
authority for the discipline recommended here.
Much like the Referee=s reference to a California case involving a hit man or
goon, The Bar has cited a Amuscle man@ case, The Florida Bar v. Patarini , 548
So.2d 1110 (Fla. 1989). Much like the other cases, the similarity to the case at bar is
limited to the fact that it occurred in the context of domestic dispute/dissolution
proceedings. Respondent=s former wife had sought to enforce provisions of the Final
Judgment against him and the Respondent blamed the
ex-wife=s counsel for his problems. He thereupon asked another client to locate a
Amuscle man@ willing to physically harm or threaten the ex-wife=s counsel.
Unfortunately for Patarini , the client was a police informant and arranged for him to
meet a police undercover officer. The ensuing conversations included discussions of
blowing up the counsel=s car, breaking his arm, or otherwise harming him or his
property. Respondent also expressed an interest in using the Amuscle man@ to collect
debts owed by certain clients and providing similar service to other clients who might
need his services. We have no goons here, real, or undercover police officers.
Patarini is not authority for the discipline that has been recommended.
The Bar also urges reliance upon The Florida Bar v. Langston, 540 So.2d 118
(Fla. 1989). Again, the case arose in the context of an acrimonious dissolution
proceeding. But, as with the other cases, the similarity ends there.
This court concluded that Langston had committed perjury in a pre-trial
deposition and was held in contempt and jailed for six weeks by the trial court because
of that court=s further finding, inter alia, that Adespite his ability to do so, Respondent
failed to pay temporary alimony and child support as ordered by the court and,
contrary to the order of the court, had transferred title to various properties as part of
a >calculated scheme to defraud his wife of alimony and prevent an equitable
distribution of property of this marriage=@. [emphasis supplied] Langston, 540 So.2d at
The Referee had recommended a private reprimand followed by 12 months of
probation or until he had taken and passed the ethics portion of The Florida Bar exam.
Seemingly predicated in part upon this court=s finding that the Respondent had not
practiced law for approximately 14 years, it found that it was Aadvisable, in the interest
of the public ... to suspend him for 91 days and impose as a condition of
reinstatement that he successfully pass the ethics exam@. Of course, our facts are
substantially less egregious than those in Langston. Also, the Respondent here has not
had a lengthy period of separation from the practice of law. Indeed, the
recommended sanction of 91 days (together with the time involved in readmission)
would be devastating to this sole practitioner. Importantly, on these more egregious
facts, this court imposed the same discipline in Langston that is recommended here.
The final case cited by The Bar, The Florida Bar v. Colclough, 561 So.2d 1147
(Fla. 1990) is wholly lacking in any common ground with the case at bar. Respondent
was suspended for six months for fraudulently representing to the court and to
opposing counsel that he had secured a judgment for costs which should be added to
the money judgment previously entered. The court relied upon those representations
and opposing counsel (substituting for the counsel of record) did as well. Thus, the
court added approximately $5,000.00 to the previous money judgment and the
supercedeas bond was ordered in the aggregate amount. These circumstances have
nothing in common with those now before the court and Colclough is not authority for
the recommended discipline.
Clearly, the cited cases are not Aapples@ to be compared with the Aapple@ at bar.
The recommended discipline is not supported by existing case law.
Mr. Steinberg respectfully requests this Court to reject the Referee=s
recommendation of a 91 day suspension and probation with the condition that he
undergo psychological evaluation and complete any recommended treatment. A public
reprimand or a lesser term of suspension, with or without probation, is a severe and
appropriate sanction after applying the Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions and
considering court precedent.
RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED this 9th day of October, 2007.
WILLIS, FEREBEE & HUTTON
ROBERT STUART WILLIS
Florida Bar No.: 153152
503 East Monroe Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
Attorney for Respondent
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I HEREBY CERTIFY that the original of the foregoing Respondent=s Reply
Brief has been furnished by overnight delivery and by e-mail electronic submission via
firstname.lastname@example.org to Thomas D. Hall, Clerk, Supreme Court of Florida,
500 South Duval Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399; and a true and correct copy has
been furnished by regular mail delivery to Kenneth Lawrence Marvin, Esquire, Staff
Counsel, The Florida Bar, 651 East Jefferson Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399 and
Frances R. Brown-Lewis, Esquire, Bar Counsel, The Florida Bar, 1200 Edgewater
Drive, Orlando, Florida 32804 on this 9th day of October, 2007.
ROBERT STUART WILLIS
CERTIFICATE OF FONT SIZE AND STYLE
Counsel for Respondent, Gregg Steinberg, hereby certifies that the instant
Reply Brief has been prepared in Times New Roman 14-point font.
ROBERT STUART WILLIS
T.74: Witness B The Honorable Charles Tinlin ............................ 1
T.76: Witness B The Honorable Charles Tinlin .............................. 2
T.93: Witness B Gregg Steinberg .................................................... 3
T. 96-97: Witness B Gregg Steinberg .............................................. 5
T.107-108: Witness B Gregg Steinberg ........................................... 7
T. 116: Witness B Gregg Steinberg ................................................. 9
T. 124-125: Witness B Steve Alexander ............................................ 10
T.2 30: Witness B Gregg Steinberg ................................................. 12
T. 74: Witness B The Honorable Charles Tinlin
Q. And approximately when was that , if you know? March 13th of >99, does
that sound about right?
A. Yeah, I would not remember the date, but that sounds about right.
Q. All right. Did Mr. Steinberg come to you when he was having some marital
A. He did.
Q. You can, because of the type proceeding we=re in, sort of give the court,
including hearsay, the substance of the conversation.
A. He came to me and told me that he and Rebecca were having some
problems, that he had found out that his wife was having an affair with someone, and
he candidly admitted to me that he couldn=t be too shocked because he was also
having an affair with someone. He was very candid about that. He was very hurt by
it. I think that anyone would be.
Q. Was there a discussion at all about Amanda, the daughter?
A. Yeah. That was one of his biggest concerns, because he and Amanda were
like father and daughter. He referred to her as daughter and she referred to him
as ADad@ or ADaddy@. He had a very close relationship with her.
T. 76: Witness B The Honorable Charles Tinlin
Q. And about how often do you see him practice-wise?
A. I=d say he=s in my courtroom at least twice a month, if not more.
Q. During the period of time that he was going through the emotional side of
things, was there ever any break in professionalism that you saw at all?
A. Never. And Gregg would come and talk to me fairly regular about his
marital problems and his personal situation, but it never reflected in his courtroom
demeanor or his professionalism.
Q. Was it ever reflected, on the personal side, to you, emotionally, what was
A. He was struggling with what was going on in his life. I could tell he was
very emotional about it. He was struggling with that. I think that your ego gets
tremendously bruised when you=re going through something like that.
He felt that he didn=t have a lot of control over the situation. He knew Rebecca
would have control over her daughter. And I think that was his big concern. And I=d
say frankly he was just hurt that his wife had betrayed him.
Q. You=re aware of the fact that he issued a
T. 93: Witness B Gregg Steinberg
A. No, she=s not.
Q. Have you adopted Amanda?
A. No, ma=am.
Q. Do you have any legal relationship to Amanda, who is Rebecca Steinberg=s
A. Unfortunately, no.
Q. What has been submitted as Exhibit Number 1 or respondent is a letter
from Sherry Risch B
Q. B Ph.D. You went to see Dr. Risch; is that correct?
A. That=s correct.
Q. And you saw her only on four occasions; is that correct?
A. That=s about right, yes, ma=am.
Q. Have you seen any other psychologists/counselors since your time with Dr.
Q. Other than your attending ethics school and seeing Dr. Risch, have you
taken any other steps to rectify what you did in February of 2004?
A. If I=d have thought of anything else that I could do, I would certainly have
done it. I don=t
T. 96-97: Witness B Gregg Steinberg
And she said, AJust me.@
MR. HARRIS: (Indicating.)
THE WITNESS: Sorry. I just wanted something on record to protect myself.
THE COURT: But where did you file this?
THE WITNESS: I went to the sheriff=s office in St. Johns County.
THE COURT: You gave the sheriff=s office a bare affidavit?
THE WITNESS: There was a Deputy Gumbel that was sitting up front, and I
said, AIs there any way you can keep this on file? Put my name on it. Just keep it on
file just in case, because I=m getting threats on a weekly or a monthly basis from my
wife. We=re going through a divorce.@
I said, AI don=t want her coming back saying that I hit her, I cut her, saying it
Because she was threatening: AI=ll give myself black eyes and say you did it. I=ll
cut myself and say you did it. I=m going to have your career in the toilet.@
THE COURT: So you were asking a deputy simply to put it in some sort of
THE WITNESS: I asked Deputy Gumbel, AIs there any way you can keep this
on file with my name on it?@ And she said ASure.@ And that=s just where I left it.
THE COURT: You weren=t requesting a domestic violence injunction or
anything of that sort?
THE WITNESS: No, ma=am, because if I had done that, then my days with
Amanda would have been over.
THE COURT: Have you ever seen anyone else file an affidavit with the
THE WITNESS: I haven=t.
THE COURT: Okay. Thank you.
MS. BROWN-LEWIS: Did you submit this as an exhibit?
MR. HARRIS@ I was going to. I did it preliminary. I can do it out of order.
That was my next thing to do is this.
THE COURT: All right. No objection, I take it?
MS. BROWN-LEWIS: No.
THE COURT: All right. The Practice and Professionalism Enhancement
Program Agenda is
T. 107-108: Witness B Gregg Steinberg
And he said, AI barely know your wife. She=s good friends with my wife.@
I said, AWhat=s your wife=s name?@
And he didn=t answer me. And that was B B it was a 60-second phone call that
Q. (By Mr. Harris) How long, to your knowledge B did Ben Cothren find out
pretty quickly that you had issued a subpoena for his records?
A. Probably the same day that I had let Rebecca know that I knew what was
going on now.
And I=m sorry, Mr. Harris, I didn=t answer your first question. The question
was, what was I trying to prove. I knew she had gone out of the country in 2002 and
2003, and cell phones don=t work. And I knew the exact dates that her phone was
turned off, and I just wanted to see if his phone was off at the same time because that
would prove it to me.
Q. The Bar brought up the question that you had put in your affidavit that one
of the issues was dealing with that you had threatened B or dealing with the cell phone
records, that you had been tempted to get the cell phone records. He never baited you
to get the cell phone records. Who did?
A. Rebecca did B excuse me. My ex-wife had taunted me, had dared me, had
mocked me, practically said, AI dare you to find anything because there=s nothing
Q. Was it shortly after that that you subpoenaed the records?
A. Very shortly. Probably in a matter of days.
Q. Was it shortly after that that you actually fled your divorce?
A. I had B I had B yes. Yes, sir. It was withing that same three- or four-week
period. I was the petitioner. I filed. When I found out what I found out, I filed.
Q. And, again, just in a different fashion, the records that you obtained, were
they ever given in any fashion to Judy Shine, who represented you?
Did Judy Shine represent you?
A. Judy Shine represented me.
Q. Did you ever give the cell phone records to her for any reason?
A. No, sir.
Q. Did you ever use them for any reason whatsoever?
A. No, sir.
Q. Did you obtain benefit as a result of your
T. 116: Witness B Gregg Steinberg
And you say at the time that you issued the subpoena that you knew it was
Did you know at the time or did you have an opinion at the time as to what
would have happened had you issued the subpoena while you were still employed by
the state, what would have happened to your employment?
THE WITNESS: I probably would have been fired, yes, ma=am.
THE COURT: So you understood at the time you issued the subpoena what a
serious matter it was?
THE WITNESS: Yes, ma=am, I knew it was serious and I knew it was wrong,
and I=ve never denied that.
THE COURT: Are you still in counseling?
THE WITNESS: Not right now, no.
THE COURT: When was the last time that you had a visit?
THE WITNESS: March. The end of March of 2004.
THE COURT: I appreciate your answers to my question.
I=d like to offer both attorneys any opportunity to follow up to myt questions, if
T. 124-125: Witness B Steve Alexander
A. It was tough for him, and, as his mentor, it was very tough for me, too.
That=s why I=m kind of breaking down now, because I truly felt Gregg=s pain. Gregg
loved that little girl. I think, you know, had that child not been in existence, this would
have been a regular divorce, like any other. No divorce being regular, but I don=t think
there would have been any of the major problems as it ended up with this.
But I know he adored that child and he lived her and had hoped, at some point
in time, to be her father. And I think that his wife had kind of led him to believe , you
know, that sooner or later, hopefully, that the dad would relent and agree to that,
because I know the dad virtually had no contact with the child whatsoever.
Q. One of Judge Cole=s primary responsibilities will be to determine that during
the course of when the events were occurring that led to this Bar complaint that he
maintained a sense of professionalism.
Did you ever see B I understand the emotional side might have been having
issues B but did you ever see anything, even when he was involved in his domestic
A. No, Gregg and I would keep up in court quite a bit as far as B half my
practice, I would say, is criminal defense; the other, civil litigation. I do both plaintiff
and defense civil litigation. So that=s about 90 percent B 95 percent of what I do, half
criminal and almost the other half civil. I do a little bit of real estate.
And so Gregg and I kind of practiced on the same circles, same areas. He
probably has maybe a little more than half criminal, and he does a lot of civil litigation.
So we would kind of keep in step with, you know, if he would try a DUI case,
I would heat about it, not necessarily from him. I=d hear it from Brian Shorstein or
some of the other prosecutors or defense lawyers. They would tell me, you know,
how Gregg was doing.
And I can tell you, Gregg was no easy person to defend a case against. The
prosecutors always had a lot of respect for Gregg. The judges did, too. And I never
saw, at least personal-injurywise or civil-litigationwise, Gregg=s performance ever
falter. I mean, he had, I think quite a bit of success in his criminal and civil
T.2 30: Witness B Gregg Steinberg
it is not an excuse. I was not insane or crazy at the time. I accept responsibility
like I always have for what I=ve done.
Just sometimes it=s difficult because I know better, and I=ve always been so
ethical and so aboveboard and so honest, both as a prosecutor and as a defense
attorney. And I look back on this, at what I did, and it=s humiliating. It=s
A lot of people in St Augustine know B I say a lot of people, attorneys, judges,
prosecutors, a lot of people know. And I=ve had a number of attorneys come to me
and say, I can=t believe you, of all people, you actually did something like that. That is
so not like you.
And it is not. It is such an aberration, and it is the only time that I have ever in
my career as an attorney done anything bad, done anything unethical.
It just goes against everything that I believe as an attorney and as a person.
And it=s embarrassing, it really is. It=s B you know, there are just sometimes even
now where I don=t want to go to court; I just want to hide.