TALLAHASSEE – Matthew Brennan Cleary III, an attorney who practices in Labelle,
was disbarred effective immediately following a Feb. 2
court order for violating the terms of a previous suspension.
disbarment by the Florida Bar, the Board of Immigration Appeals, Immigration Courts
and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also disbarred him from practicing on
Cleary was found in contempt for violating the terms of a
June 10, 2015, emergency suspension ordered by the Florida Supreme Court. The
order was implemented after Cleary allegedly failed to notify his clients, opposing
counsel, and tribunals of his suspension and provide the Bar with a sworn
affidavit that listed the names and addresses of all persons and entities that
received a copy of his suspension order. He also allegedly continued to practice law
“Rule 6(b) of the Rules Governing Attorney Discipline, Local
Rules of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida,
provides that ‘[a]n attorney . . . who shall be suspended . . . on consent . .
. from the bar of any state . . . while an investigation into allegations of
misconduct is pending shall . . . cease to be permitted to practice before this court and be stricken from the roll of attorneys admitted to practice before
this court,’” the district court said. “Under these circumstances involving
suspension on consent, service of an order to show cause is unnecessary and the
attorney may be immediately suspended.”
According to the 2015 petition for emergency suspension,
Cleary appeared to be causing great public harm.
“Two judges found him in indirect criminal contempt for
intentionally and deliberately failing to timely appear for trials in April
; at an order to show cause hearing, Cleary appeared in court under the
influence of drugs,” the official court document said.
The initial Supreme Court order of suspension, dated Oct.
2, 2015, said that Cleary could not practice law for 91 days.
“That order of suspension was predicated on an uncontested
report of the referee, which was based upon a conditional plea for consent judgment,” the document said.
Upon suspension, the courts stressed that Cleary may not
resume the practice of law until reinstated by order of the court and was also
placed on probation for two years under the terms and conditions set forth in
the report and consent judgment.
Furthermore, on June 16, the Board of Immigration
Appeals issued an order immediately suspending Cleary based on his disbarment
in Florida for failure to notify his clients of his disbarment.
“The proposed sanction is appropriate, in light of the fact
that the [Cleary] was disbarred from the practice of law in Florida on Feb.
2, 2016, by the Supreme Court of Florida, after being held in contempt of the
court,” the DOJ official document said. “The notice of intent to discipline
proposes that the respondent be disbarred from practicing before the Board and
the Immigration Courts.”
Consequently, the Disciplinary Counsel for the DHS also
asked the Board to extend that discipline to practice before them as well.
“The Board hereby disbars the respondent from practice
before the Board, the Immigration Courts, and the DHS,” the document said. “The
disbarment is deemed to have commenced on June 16, 2016, and he must maintain
compliance with the directives set forth in prior orders.”
Cleary must also notify the Board of any further
disciplinary action against him and may petition the Board for reinstatement to
practice before the Board, the Immigration Courts and DHS.