Attorney Suspended Indefinitely For Threatening Judge

Soon-to-be-former attorney Scott Alan Stern was recently disciplined for engaging in shocking conduct, even by attorney standards.

Most attorney discipline cases involve misappropriation (i.e., “stealing”) of client funds and engaging in some kind of fraud on the court.

This one, however, is a bit different.  The facts, according to the opinion in Matter of Scott Alan Stern (accessible here), were as follows:

[R]espondent admitted that in February 2009, he told a court clerk that he should be taken seriously and was “seriously considering resorting to violence.”  … [R]espondent also acknowledged … that on February 17, 2009 he asked the clerk whether he would have to “come back [to the courthouse] with a bat.”  Respondent also admitted … that he sent a box cutter to a judge along with a letter directing her to show it to six other judges as well as his landlord’s attorneys.

The panel concluded:

The foregoing admitted threats of violence against judges and opposing counsel constitute professional misconduct in that they are prejudicial to the administration of justice (see Rules of Professional Conduct [22 NYCRR 1200.0] rule 8.4[d]). Such threats constitute misconduct for the additional reason that they are illegal and adversely reflect on respondent’s fitness as a lawyer.

There’s no arguing with that.

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