Attorney suspended for allegedly failing to tell bar about arrests, convictions

By John Breslin | Sep 12, 2016

TALLAHASSEE – An Altamonte Springs attorney has been suspended for 10 days, after which he will be placed on probation, after allegedly failing to inform the Florida State Bar of his criminal convictions.

Brett Michael Anthony was arrested five times from April to September 2014, for a variety of offenses, including battery and driving under the influence.

According to a referee’s report, Anthony, a young lawyer admitted to the bar in 2012, did not inform the bar of the criminal matters.

The referee recommended Anthony be suspended for 10 days, then put on probation for three years. The Florida Supreme Court, in an Aug. 11 ruling, agreed.

“The uncontested report of the referee is approved and respondent is suspended from the practice of law for 10 days, effective 30 days,” the court ruled.

The referee’s report found that Anthony was arrested five times on various misdemeanor charges.

On Nov. 19, 2014, after respondent's successful completion of an anger management program, a charge of battery was filed under no notice, effectively cleared from his record.

Anthony pleaded guilty in December 2014 to DUI, trespass, and driving while his license was suspended. The court adjudicated respondent guilty and placed him on probation, with numerous conditions, for a period of 12 months in one case. He was sentenced to seven days in the Pinellas County Jail on another.

On Oct. 13, 2015, respondent's probation was violated for his failure to pay costs of supervision and the electronic monitoring fee, and for his failure to prove completion of treatment.

The referee concluded, “Additionally, respondent failed to notify the bar of the above- referenced criminal cases and the determinations of guilt and/or convictions as required by the rules regulating the Florida Bar.

“Respondent further failed to respond to the bar's inquiries into his conduct and his failure to notify the bar of the determinations of guilt and/or convictions against him.”

The referee found that Anthony failed to maintain personal integrity, and said suspension was “appropriate when a lawyer knowingly engages in criminal conduct.”

Suspension is also appropriate, the referee found, when “a lawyer knowingly engages in conduct that is a violation of a duty owed as a professional and causes injury or potential injury to a client, the public, or the legal system.”

Mitigating factors included the absence of a prior disciplinary record, inexperience in the practice of law, and physical or mental disability or impairment.

During his probation, Anthony will “participate actively in the program offered by Florida Lawyers Assistance Inc., by signing a rehabilitation contract with that organization.

“Respondent shall follow all recommendations by Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc., during the entire probation period,” the referee stated in his report, which was not contested by the attorney and accepted in its entirety by the Supreme Court.

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