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In re Hanlon

Supreme Court of New York, First Department

December 26, 2019

In the Matter of Craig A. Hanlon (admitted as Craig Andrew Hanlon), an attorney and counselor-at-law: Attorney Grievance CommitteeM-7336 for the First Judicial Department, Petitioner, Craig A. Hanlon, Respondent.

          Jorge Dopico, Chief Attorney, Attorney Grievance Committee, New York (Vitaly Lipkansky, of counsel), for petitioner.

          Respondent pro se.

          Hon. David Friedman, Justice Presiding, Dianne T. Renwick, Rosalyn H. Richter, Angela M. Mazzarelli, Jeffrey K. Oing, Justices.

          PER CURIUM

         Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Craig A. Hanlon, 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 August 1, 2005.

         Respondent Craig A. Hanlon was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the First Judicial Department on August 1, 2005, under the name Craig Andrew Hanlon. At all times relevant to this proceeding, respondent maintained an office for the practice of law within the First Judicial Department.

         The Attorney Grievance Committee (Committee) seeks an order striking respondent's name from the roll of attorneys, pursuant to Judiciary Law § 90(4)(b), on the ground that he was convicted of a felony as defined by Judiciary Law § 90(4)(e), namely, grand larceny in the second degree, and has therefore been automatically disbarred. Even though respondent has not yet been sentenced, the Committee's application is timely because, for purposes of automatic disbarment, a conviction occurs at the time of plea or verdict (see Matter of Ogihara, 121 A.D.3d 47');">121 A.D.3d 47 [1st Dept 2014]). Morever, the Committee contends that the fact that respondent may, in the future, be permitted to withdraw his felony plea and replead to a misdemeanor if he complies with the plea agreement terms is of no moment because he could then move to vacate his disbarment (see Matter of Silberman, 31 A.D.3d 21, 22-23 [1st Dept 2006]).

         Respondent, pro se, has not submitted a response to this motion or appeared herein.

         On July 16, 2019, respondent entered a plea of guilty in Supreme Court, New York County, to grand larceny in the second degree (Penal Law § 155.40[1]), a class C felony. At the plea proceeding, respondent admitted that, during the period between February 2018 and February 2019, while representing a client in a divorce matter, he maintained $100, 000 in his escrow account and, having refused to transfer the money to the wife's attorney pursuant to a stipulation, respondent, without permission or authority, stole $71, 690.07 of that money for his personal use.

         As part of his plea agreement, respondent agreed to participate in a substance abuse treatment program, and, if after 18 months' compliance with all probation details under the agreement, be permitted to replead to the misdemeanor of petit larceny. Respondent also agreed to the entry of a judgment order against him in the amount of the stolen funds ($71, 690.07), and to the transfer of $28, 309.93 of funds seized from his escrow account to the attorney for the wife.

         The Committee correctly asserts that respondent's conviction of a New York felony is a basis for automatic disbarment pursuant to Judiciary Law § 90(4). New York Judiciary Law § 90(4)(a) provides:

"Any person being an attorney and counsellor-at-law who shall be convicted of a felony as defined in paragraph e of this subdivision, shall upon such conviction, cease to be an attorney and counsellor-at-law, or to be competent to practice law as such."

         Judiciary Law § 90(4)(e) provides in pertinent part as follows:

"For purposes of this subdivision, the term felony shall mean any criminal offense classified as a felony under the ...

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