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Criminal defense attorney publicly reprimanded

The state Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a Milwaukee criminal defense attorney Wednesday for mismanaging matters in the cases of five clients.

According to the high court’s opinion, Robert D’Arruda, who graduated from Marquette University in 1993, did not handle client money correctly and failed to respond to phone calls placed by clients.

In addition to the reprimand, the court ordered D’Arruda to pay $250 in restitution to one of his clients, as well as more than $6,000 to pay for the attorney-discipline proceedings.

According to the opinion, the referee for the case noted D’Arruda went through his misconduct troubles when he faced “multiple outside pressures including dissolution of his small law firm, divorce, financial pressures and an excessive caseload.”

D’Arruda was privately reprimanded in 2011 for similar charges. D’Arruda, in an email attributed to him, declined to comment Wednesday afternoon.

Unrelated to the cases for which he was disciplined, D’Arruda was one of three attorneys who originally represented Annette Morales-Rodriguez, who killed a pregnant woman and tried to steal her full-term fetus in 2011. D’Arruda left the case before it concluded. Moralez-Rodriguez, 35, later was found guilty of two counts of homicide and sentenced to life in prison.

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