In Re Peter Carini

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Professional Responsibility
  • Date Filed: 08-15-2013
  • Case #: S060708
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam; En Banc
  • Full Text Opinion

Violation of RPC 8.4(a)(4) occurs if the Bar proves the attorney's conduct did or could have had a prejudicial effect on the administration of justice. Prejudice to administration of justice may arise from several acts that cause some harm or a single act that causes substantial harm to the administration of justice.

Carini appealed the decision of the trial panel in a disciplinary proceeding. Carini was charged with violating Rule of Professional Conduct (RPC) 8.4(a)(4). Carini, a criminal defense attorney, failed to appear in court for three docket calls and one status hearing during his representation of four different clients. On review, Carini argued: (1) the Bar failed to prove that his conduct resulted in "substantial harm”, (2) the Bar impermissibly aggregated his conduct in the representation of four different clients, and (3) the bar must show he intentionally engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice to establish an RPC 8.4(a)(4) violation. Violation of RPC 8.4(a)(4) occurs if the Bar proves the attorney's conduct did or could have had a prejudicial effect on the administration of justice. As to Carini’s first argument, the Court held that Carini’s conduct caused "some harm" to the administration of justice because, taken as a whole, Carini's absences required the court to take a number of actions in an attempt to locate him and schedule additional hearings. Next, the Court concluded that nothing in the text of RPC 8.4(a)(4) limits application of the rule to actions occurring over the course of representation of a single client. Finally, the Court noted that RPC 8.4(a)(4) is focused on the effect of the conduct, not on the attorney’s state of mind when the conduct occurs. The Court held that the attorney violated RPC 8.4(a)(4) and affirmed the trial panel’s sanction. Carini was suspended from the practice of law for 30 days.

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