IN RE: James R. HICKEY Jr.

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, New York.

IN RE: James R. HICKEY Jr., an Attorney and Counselor-at-Law. Committee on Professional Standards, Petitioner; James R. Hickey Jr., Respondent.

Decided: September 24, 1998

Before MIKOLL, J.P., and MERCURE, CREW, WHITE and YESAWICH, JJ. Mark S. Ochs,Committee on Professional Standards (Kenneth H.P. Bryk, of counsel), Albany, for petitioner. Robert J. Clune, Ithaca, for respondent.

Respondent was admitted to practice by this court in 1980 and maintains a law office in Ithaca.

During an initial consultation with respondent, a potential client who sought a divorce volunteered some facts concerning her sexual history.   Respondent then elicited irrelevant details concerning the woman's sex life and made some inappropriate comments to her, in violation of disciplinary rules (see, Code of Professional Responsibility DR 1-102[A][5], [8] [22 NYCRR 1200.3[a][5], [8]] ).   Respondent also failed to provide her with the required statement of client's rights and responsibilities (see, DR 1-102[A][5] [22 NYCRR 1200.3 [a] [5]];  22 NYCRR 1200.47;  1400.2).   Petitioner, the Committee on Professional Standards, advises that it admonished respondent for making similar comments to clients about 10 years ago.

During two appearances in a misdemeanor matter in a local town court, respondent expressed his frustration with a ruling by the town justice in an undignified and discourteous manner (see, DR 1-102[A][5] [22 NYCRR 1200.3 [a] [5]];  1200.37[c] ).  During the second appearance, the town justice issued a contempt warning.

In view of the mitigating circumstances introduced by respondent before the Referee, including a psychiatrist's report and evidence of his remorse and professional and community activities, we conclude that respondent should be censured.

ORDERED that respondent is found guilty of charge I of the petition, only insofar as it alleges violation of DR 1-102(A)(5), (8) (22 NYCRR 1200.3(a)(5), (8)), and only as set forth in specifications 1 (excepting the reference to “under the guise of a study”), 2, and the first sentence of specification 4;  charge II;  and charge III, only insofar as it alleges violation of DR 1-102(A)(5) and DR 7-106(C) 22 NYCRR 1200.3(a)(5) and 1200.37(c), and only as set forth in specifications 2 and 3;  and the motions to confirm and disaffirm the Referee's report are granted and denied accordingly;  and it is further

ORDERED that respondent is censured.


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