In the Matter of John F. Burke, admitted as John Francis Burke, an attorney and counselor-at-law. Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District, petitioner; John F. Burke, respondent. (Attorney Registration No. 4697678)
Mitchell T. Borkowsky, Hauppauge, NY (Robert H. Cabble of
counsel), for petitioner.
McDonough & McDonough, LLP, Garden City, NY (Chris
McDonough of counsel), for respondent.
RANDALL T. ENG, P.J. REINALDO E. RIVERA MARK C. DILLON RUTH
C. BALKIN SHERI S. ROMAN, JJ.
OPINION & ORDER
PROCEEDING instituted by the Grievance Committee for the
Tenth Judicial District. The respondent was admitted to the
Bar at a term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court
in the Third Judicial Department on April 22, 2009, under the
name John Francis Burke. By decision and order on motion of
this Court dated December 29, 2015, the Grievance Committee
was authorized to institute and prosecute a disciplinary
proceeding against the respondent based on his misdemeanor
convictions, and the issues raised were referred to Norma
Giffords, Esq., as Special Referee, to hear and report.
Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District served
the respondent with a verified petition dated January 14,
2016, containing two charges of professional misconduct.
After a prehearing conference on April 15, 2016, and a
hearing on May 18, 2016, the Special Referee sustained both
charges. The Grievance Committee now moves to confirm the
report of the Special Referee and for the imposition of such
discipline as the Court deems just and proper. The respondent
has submitted papers in support of the motion to confirm and
asks for the issuance of a private reprimand.
one alleges that the respondent engaged in conduct that
adversely reflects on his honesty, trustworthiness, or
fitness as a lawyer, in violation of rule 8.4(b) of the Rules
of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200.0), as follows: On or
about August 4, 2014, the respondent was arrested by an
officer of the Bennington, Vermont, Police Department, and
charged with three misdemeanor crimes: (1) operating a motor
vehicle on a public highway with an alcohol concentration of
0.08 or more, in violation of 23 Vermont Statutes Annotated
§ 1201(a)(1), (2) operating a motor vehicle on a public
highway while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, in
violation of 23 Vermont Statutes Annotated § 1201(a)(2),
and (3) providing false information to a law enforcement
officer, in violation of 13 Vermont Statutes Annotated §
Vermont court set written conditions of release for the
respondent on the charges, among which was condition No. 12,
which stated that "You must NOT buy, have or drink any
alcoholic beverages." In an information by the
state's attorney dated January 7, 2015, the respondent
was charged with the misdemeanor crime of violation of the
conditions of release, in violation of 13 Vermont Statutes
Annotated § 7559(e), alleging that, on or about October
26, 2014, the respondent violated condition No. 12.
about April 10, 2015, pursuant to a written plea agreement,
the respondent pleaded guilty to (1) operating a motor
vehicle on a public highway while under the influence of
intoxicating liquor, under 23 Vermont Statutes Annotated
§ 1201(a)(2), and (2) violating the conditions of
release, under 13 Vermont Statutes Annotated § 7559(e),
both misdemeanors. In his plea allocution, the respondent
admitted the facts of his operation of a motor vehicle on a
public highway while under the influence of alcohol, and the
facts of his violation of the conditions of release by his
use of alcohol. He was sentenced to a fine of $750 for the
driving under the influence offense, and a fine of $500 for
the violation of the conditions of release offense.
two alleged that the respondent engaged in conduct that
adversely reflects on his fitness as a lawyer, in violation
of rule 8.4(h) of the Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR
1200.0), in that he was convicted of the misdemeanor crimes
as set forth above in charge one.
on the evidence adduced and the respondent's admissions,
the Special Referee properly sustained the charges.
Accordingly, the Grievance Committee's motion to confirm
the report of the Special Referee is granted.
respondent urges the Court to impose a private reprimand, or,
alternatively, a public censure. The respondent argues that a
public censure is a heavier sanction than in the past due to
the existence of the Internet. We find this argument to be
of the mitigation advanced, including the absence of any
prior disciplinary history, the respondent's remorse, the
steps taken by the respondent to rehabilitate himself and
maintain sobriety, and his generally excellent reputation ...