PROBLEMS WITH THE TEXAS RULES OF DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE
1) The investigators are not attorneys. In my case Mr. Mapes testified at trial that he did not understand anything but the specific TDRPC rules. He did not understand the Scope or Preamble to the TDRPC which says the TDRPC integrate with the larger body of the statutory and common law. He did not understand the Scope/Preamble where it says that grievances should not be filed to gain an advantage in a lawsuit. He did not understand that there must be an attorney client relationship before there can be TDRPC liability on the part of the attorney. So all grievances begin with a non attorney deciding what is a complaint and what is not. How ridiculous.
2) As in my case, the grievances can be deliberately sent to an investigatory panel that will bring back the recommendation that the State Bar is seeking. This is a violation of Rule 2.07 TRDP "All committee panels must be randomly selected by the chair."
3) You can be disbarred for exercising your constitutional right against self-incrimination. If you plead the fifth in the investigatory phase of a grievance you can be disbarred for violating Rule 106(Q)(4) TRDP or Rule 8.01(b) or Rule 8.04a(8) TDRPC via Rule 1.06(Q)(1). So either help the State Bar make its case against you or be disbarred for simply being uncooperative.
5) Here is how the grievance process works regarding public and private reprimands. The State Bar offers you a public reprimand but they tell you if you refuse their offer, they will file suit and get their public reprimand anyway.
4) Restitution is being ordered without a Rule 1.14 TDRPC finding.
6) Rule 1.03(a) & (b) and Rule 1.15(d) TDRPC require an expert witness to prove up "reasonable and competent attorney" but the Commission never puts on an expert witness.
7) It is almost impossible for a client to successfully sue a lawyer in Texas for malpractice due to the "suit within a suit" requirement and the "but for" the negligence of the attorney the client would have won his or her case requirement. However, within the grievance process an attorney can successfully win a lawsuit for a client and be disbarred for failure to keep the client informed. Either the bar needs to come down on the elements of a legal malpractice action or the bar needs to be raised with regard to the elements of a TDRPC violation. Presently, the TDRPC violations are processed in a sterile environment. I was disbarred for not filing a frivolous and groundless lawsuit in one case.
8) Attorney fees are awarded when the Commission did not hire an outside attorney, did not employee an attorney for the purpose of prosecuting a complaint. The Commission's attorneys make $27 per hour and sanctions are awarded at $150 per hour. This allows the Commission to make a profit on its attorneys and is an incentive for them to pursue attorneys with frivolous complaints.
9) There is no range of punishment guidelines for violations of the TDRPC. You can be disbarred for one violation. Surely we all realize there is significant differences in the degrees of violations of the rules. Typically, Judgments for Disbarments state that the Respondent attorney is disbarred for each violation.
10) Per the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure everyone involved in the grievance process is immune from being sued for their bad acts. We all know that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We also know the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and the Commission's violations of one's rights against self incrimination is actionable regardless of the TRDP.
I put my license on the line to stop the abuse. Any attorney who cooperates with the grievance process in any way is as crazy as the vast numbers of criminals who are incarcerated by the words out of their own mouths. The grievance process is stacked against the attorney and an attorney is insane to hang himself or herself with his or her own words. Take the Fifth and let them make their case if they can is the best advice I can give you; even though taking the Fifth can get you disbarred under the present rules.
-- John WorldPeace, Attorney at Law
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