Florida Record

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Disbarred Daytona Beach attorney asks Florida Supreme Court to reconsider punishment


By Karen Kidd | Jun 27, 2019


TALLAHASSEE (Florida Record) — Disbarred longtime Daytona Beach attorney Diego Handel has asked the Florida Supreme Court that its May 30 order disbarring him after holding him in contempt as The Florida Bar be carried on its investigation into misappropriation allegations.

In his seven-page motion for rehearing and reconsideration, Handel, referring to himself as "respondent," alleges that he provide the court with a verified response to its previous show cause order asking that the state bar's disciplinary proceedings against him be referred to a referee.

"It was also hoped that the respondent would have been able to create a record concerning the mitigation that was present in this case prior to a sanction being imposed," Handel's June 14 motion said. "Unfortunately, the respondent did not have an opportunity to advise the court in these regards and, through this motion for rehearing, he respectfully requests an opportunity to fully develop the significant mitigation that is present in this case."

Handel says in his motion that his "most significant aspect of mitigation" concerns his "longstanding difficulties with a bipolar disorder," which he says the Supreme Court "has long considered mental health issues as a potential mitigating factor."

Handel was disbarred following a May 30 Supreme Court order, according to an announcement by The Florida Bar about a week after Handel file his motion. In its two-page order, the court granted the state bar's petition for contempt, found Handel in contempt and, as a sanction, disbarred the attorney.

Handel already was suspended following a March 12 Supreme Court order, so his disbarment was effective immediately. The court also ordered Handel to pay $1,250 in costs.

Florida court orders are not final until time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion, as Handel has done, will not alter the effective date of Handel's suspension. Attorneys disbarred in Florida generally cannot reapply for admission for five years and must pass an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam.

Handel was admitted to the bar in Florida on Jan. 23, 1984, according to his profile at the state bar website.

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