In the Matter of Mark A. Bonilla, a suspended attorney. Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District, petitioner; Mark A. Bonilla, respondent. Attorney Registration No. 2650067
PROCEEDING instituted by the Grievance Committee for the
Tenth Judicial District. By decision and order on motion of
this Court dated August 12, 2016, the respondent was
immediately suspended pursuant to Judiciary Law §
90(4)(f) based on his conviction of a serious crime, the
Grievance Committee was authorized to institute and prosecute
a disciplinary proceeding against the respondent, and the
issues raised were referred to the Honorable Patrick A.
Sweeney, as Special Referee, to hear and report. The
respondent was admitted to the Bar at a term of the Appellate
Division of the Supreme Court in the Second Judicial
Department on March 1, 1995.
Catherine A. Sheridan, Hauppauge, NY (Stacey J. Sharpelletti
of counsel), for petitioner.
A. Bonilla, Bellmore, NY, respondent pro se.
RANDALL T. ENG, P.J., WILLIAM F. MASTRO, REINALDO E. RIVERA,
MARK C. DILLON, JOHN M. LEVENTHAL, JJ.
OPINION & ORDER
Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District served
the respondent with a verified petition dated August 31,
2016, containing two charges of professional misconduct.
After a preliminary conference on January 12, 2017, and a
hearing conducted on January 31, 2017, the Special Referee
sustained both charges. The Grievance Committee moves to
confirm the Special Referee's report and to impose such
discipline upon the respondent as the Court deems just and
appropriate. The respondent has submitted a response in
support of the Grievance Committee's motion to confirm,
and contends that the appropriate sanction for his misconduct
is a sanction no greater than a six-month suspension,
effective the date of this Court's order of immediate
one alleges that the respondent engaged in illegal conduct
that adversely reflects on his honesty, trustworthiness or
fitness as a lawyer in that he was convicted of a crime
within the meaning of section 90(2) of the Judiciary Law, in
violation of rule 8.4(b) of the Rules of Professional Conduct
(22 NYCRR 1200), as follows:
about October 26, 2012, an Information was filed in District
Court of Nassau County, First District, Criminal Part,
charging the respondent with two counts of official
misconduct, in violation of Penal Law § 195.00(1);
coercion in the second degree, in violation of Penal Law
§§ 110.00 and 135.60(8); and attempted petit
larceny, in violation of Penal Law §§ 110.00 and
155.25. On July 25, 2013, the respondent was found guilty,
after a nonjury trial, before the Honorable Sharon M. J.
Gianelli, in District Court, Nassau County, of official
misconduct. On October 7, 2013, he was sentenced to a
one-year conditional discharge, fined $1, 000, and directed
to pay a $225 surcharge, and a crime victims assessment fee
of $25. On October 16, 2013, the respondent appealed from the
judgment of conviction. On September 18, 2015, the Appellate
Term of the Supreme Court, Second Judicial Department,
two alleges that the respondent engaged in conduct that
adversely reflects on his fitness as a lawyer in that the
respondent was convicted of a crime within the meaning of
section 90(2) of the Judiciary Law, in violation of rule
8.4(h) of the Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200),
based on the factual allegations specified in charge one.
parties entered into a Stipulation of Facts agreeing to the
"1. On or about July 25, 2013, after a trial before the
Hon. Sharon M.J. Gianelli, a Judge of the District Court of
Nassau County, the respondent was found guilty of one (1)
count of the crime of Official Misconduct, a Class A
Misdemeanor, under Penal Law § 195.00.
"2. The respondent's conviction of the crime of
official misconduct related to his efforts, while serving as
Hempstead Town Clerk, to gain incriminating evidence against
a female employee who had accused him of sexual harassment.
Specifically, upon learning that a male employee possessed
compromising photographs of the female employee, the
respondent tried to obtain the photographs by threatening to
have the male employee transferred from his position in the
respondent's office if he did not provide the
photographs. Shortly after making this threat, and without
having received the photographs, the respondent retracted his
request' for the photographs and apologized to the male
"3. Upon his conviction, the respondent was removed from
office, after having served as Hempstead Town Clerk for ten
"4. By letter dated July 29, 2013, the respondent
notified the petitioner of his conviction, the date of his
upcoming sentencing, and his intention ...