Appellate Division, First Department
Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.
This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.
Leland G. DeGrasse,Justice Presiding, Helen E. Freedman Sheila Abdus-Salaam Sallie Manzanet-Daniels Nelson S. Roman,Justices.
Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Anton Antomattei, was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York at a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the First Judicial Department on July 7, 1980.
Respondent Anton Antomattei was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the First Judicial Department on July 7, 1980. At all times relevant to this proceeding, respondent has practiced law in the First Department. Respondent's alleged misconduct arises from two convictions for drunk driving related offenses. The Departmental Disciplinary Committee has moved, pursuant to 22 NYCRR 605.15(e), to confirm the Referee's and Hearing Panel's findings of fact, conclusions of law, and respective sanction recommendations that respondent receive a public censure on the condition that he participate in a Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP). In his response, respondent suggests private discipline and argues against ordering his participation in LAP.
On June 7, 2002, in Criminal Court, Bronx County, respondent pleaded guilty to driving while ability impaired by alcohol, a violation offense, in violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192(1). He was sentenced to, inter alia, a conditional discharge, ordered to attend a DWI program, and his driver's license was revoked for six months. Because this conviction was for a violation, respondent was not required by Judiciary Law § 90(4)(c) to notify the Disciplinary Committee of its existence.
On October 5, 2005, respondent pleaded guilty in North Salem Town Court, Westchester County, to driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, in violation of VTL § 1192(2). He was again sentenced to a conditional discharge, his driver's license was revoked for six months, and he was required to attend a DWI program. The Disciplinary Committee was made aware of this conviction and, on March 22, 2006, it issued a Letter of Admonition finding that respondent had engaged in misconduct which adversely reflected on his fitness as a lawyer, in violation of then DR 1-102(A)(7). As respondent's October 2005 misdemeanor conviction was addressed by the Admonition, the Committee did not include it as part of the current charges.
Approximately 2½ years later, on July 7, 2008, a member of the New York State Police observed respondent, alone, parked on the side of I-684 in Westchester County standing outside his car with the hazard lights flashing. When the trooper approached, respondent appeared intoxicated and was unable to perform field sobriety tests. Respondent was arrested and results of a Breathalyzer test were .22% of one per centum by weight of alcohol in his blood. Respondent was charged with the felony driving while intoxicated under VTL § 1193(c), based on the fact that he had been convicted of driving while intoxicated as a misdemeanor within the preceding 10 years (the 2005 conviction).
On September 8, 2009, in North Castle Town Court, Westchester County, respondent, represented by counsel, pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor (VTL § 1192), and was sentenced that same day to a one-year conditional discharge, fines and surcharges, license revocation for one year (which, as of December 2010, had not been restored), attendance at a MADD panel, and participation in a substance abuse program at Daytop Village (which he successfully completed).
In its statement of charges dated June 21, 2010, the Committee brought two disciplinary charges against respondent. Charge 1 alleged that his September 8, 2009 misdemeanor conviction for driving while intoxicated constituted illegal conduct that adversely reflected on his fitness as a lawyer, in violation of RPC 8.4(b) and former DR 1-102(A)(3); Charge 2 alleged that his June 2002 conviction for the violation of driving while ability impaired constituted conduct that adversely reflected on his fitness as a lawyer, in violation of RPC 8.4(h) and former DR 1-102(A)(7). By answer dated July 19, 2010, respondent admitted to certain ...