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MATTER ADMISSION EDISON P. MCDANIELS

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES


decided: April 14, 1980.

IN THE MATTER OF ADMISSION OF EDISON P. MCDANIELS

ON APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION TO THE BAR OF THIS COURT

The application for admission is granted.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER, dissenting.

Rule 5 of the Rules of this Court informs all lawyers that a "requisite to the admission of attorneys or counselors to practice" here is "that their ... professional character [] shall appear to be good." The application presented reveals that on July 26, 1976, applicant was issued a private reproval or reprimand by the Disciplinary Board of the State Bar of California for professional misconduct in handling funds of a client.

According to the record which has been lodged with the Clerk, applicant was retained by a client to recover damages for personal injuries. The claim was settled and after agreement was reached as to the applicant's and the doctor's fees, applicant undertook to disburse the settlement funds received. He deducted his fee and accounted to his client. Meanwhile, a dispute arose between applicant and the doctor resulting in the doctor's rejection of the check sent to cover the medical services. After return of the check, applicant made no further effort to pay the doctor. Subsequently, without advising his client, he withdrew an additional attorney's fee from his trust account so that the account contained less than the amount apparently agreed to by the doctor; in short, he drew for personal use funds belonging to others and held in trust by him.

On these facts, the reprimand was imposed by the Disciplinary Board, three members of which voted that the penalty was insufficient, because applicant "failed to maintain his client's funds in his trust account and converted and misappropriated part of said funds to his own use."

These are not events of 15 or 20 years ago; they are recent activities in clear violation of the standards of professional conduct, as found by the disciplinary board of the California State Bar.

In these circumstances, I am unwilling to have admission to this Court used as a "laundering" process by which the Court issues a certificate attesting to the good professional character of a lawyer when the record casts serious doubt as to whether he meets the standard prescribed by Rule 5.

19800414

© 1998 VersusLaw Inc.



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