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27058 - In the Matter of Michael Langford Brown, Jr.

IN THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Supreme Court


In the Matter of Michael Langford Brown, Jr., Respondent.


Opinion No.  27058
Submitted September 26, 2011 - Filed October 24, 2011 


PUBLIC REPRIMAND


Lesley M. Coggiola, Disciplinary Counsel, and Barbara M. Seymour, Deputy Disciplinary Counsel, both of Columbia, for Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

Desa A. Ballard, of Ballard Watson & Weissenstein, of West Columbia, for respondent.


PER CURIAMThe Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) and respondent have entered into an Agreement for Discipline by Consent pursuant to Rule 21, RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR, in which respondent admits misconduct and agrees to the imposition of either an admonition or public reprimand with the following conditions:  1) to fully comply with the terms of his current contract with Lawyers Helping Lawyers (LHL) which was renewed in October 2010; 2) to submit an affidavit to ODC attesting to his compliance with the terms of his contract with LHL every three months for a period of one year from the date of the Court's order imposing discipline; 3) to submit to ODC statements from his medical treatment provider and his LHL monitor attesting to his compliance with his LHL contract every three months for a period of one year from the date of the Court's order imposing discipline; 4) to submit his affidavit to ODC attesting to completion of the terms of the LHL contract one year after the date of the Court's order imposing discipline; 5) to submit a letter to ODC signed by his LHL monitor and a representative of the South Carolina Bar responsible for administration of LHL confirming respondent's completion with the terms of his LHL contract one year after the date of the Court's order imposing discipline; 6) to submit a letter to ODC signed by respondent's medical treatment provider confirming respondent's compliance with his treatment program and providing his prognosis and plan for future treatment, if any, one year after the date of the Court's order imposing discipline; 7) to allow an investigative panel to review this matter one year after the date of the Court's order imposing discipline and to unilaterally extend the above six conditions for one additional year; 8) to bear all costs of compliance with the terms of the Agreement and to be personally responsible for obtaining and submitting the required documentation; and 9) to pay the costs incurred by ODC and the Commission on Lawyer Conduct (the Commission) in the investigation and prosecution of this matter within thirty (30) days of imposition of discipline.  We accept the agreement, issue a public reprimand, and order respondent to comply with each of the conditions set forth above.

The facts, as set forth in the Agreement, are as follows.

FACTS

In July 2007, respondent was arrested following an altercation with police officers at a bar.  In July 2011, respondent pled guilty to resisting arrest and was sentenced to pay a fine and complete community service.  Respondent paid the fine and is in the process of completing his community service. 

Respondent acknowledges the incident in July 2007 was a result of his use and abuse of alcohol.  With the assistance of Lawyers Helping Lawyers, respondent has been in treatment for substance abuse since the time of his arrest in July 2007.  The treatment has included in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation, active participation in Alcoholics Anonymous, peer monitoring, and random testing for alcohol use. 

LAW

Respondent admits that, by his misconduct, he has violated  Rule 8.4(b) (it is professional misconduct for lawyer to commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects), of the Rules  Professional Conduct, Rule 407, SCACR.  Respondent acknowledges that his misconduct constitutes grounds for discipline under the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement, Rule 413, SCACR, specifically Rule 7(a)(1) (it shall be ground for discipline for lawyer to violate Rules of Professional Conduct) and Rule 7(a)(5) (it shall be ground for discipline for lawyer to engage in conduct tending to pollute the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute or conduct demonstrating an unfitness to practice law).  

CONCLUSION

We find that respondent’s misconduct warrants a public reprimand with conditions.  Accordingly, we accept the Agreement for Discipline by Consent and publicly reprimand respondent for his misconduct.  Respondent shall:  1) fully comply with the terms of his current contract with LHL which was renewed in October 2010; 2) submit an affidavit to ODC attesting to his compliance with the terms of his contract with LHL every three months for a period of one year from the date of this order; 3) submit statements to ODC from his medical treatment provider and his LHL monitor attesting to his compliance with his LHL contract every three months for a period of one year from the date of this order; 4) submit his affidavit to ODC attesting to completion of the terms of the LHL contract one year after the date of this order; 5) submit to ODC a letter signed by his LHL monitor and a representative of the South Carolina Bar responsible for administration of LHL confirming respondent's completion with the terms of his LHL contract one year after the date of this order; 6) submit a letter to ODC signed by respondent's medical treatment provider confirming respondent's compliance with his treatment program and providing his prognosis and plan for future treatment, if any, one year from the date of this order; 7) allow an investigative panel to review this matter one year after the date of this order and to unilaterally extend the above six conditions for one additional year; 8) bear all costs of compliance with the terms of the Agreement and to be personally responsible for obtaining and submitting the required documentation; and 9) pay the costs incurred by ODC and the Commission on Lawyer Conduct (the Commission) in the investigation and prosecution of this matter within thirty (30) days of the date of this order. 

PUBLIC REPRIMAND.

TOAL, C.J., PLEICONES, BEATTY, KITTREDGE and HEARN, JJ., concur.