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Professional Responsibility — suspension

Wisconsin Supreme Court


Professional Responsibility — suspension

Where attorney Joseph L. Sommers engaged in a disruptive outburst in court, a 30-day suspension is appropriate.

“Typically, this court has adhered to a policy of imposing a minimum license suspension of 60 days. See In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Osicka, 2009 WI 38, ¶38, 317 Wis. 2d 135, 765 N.W.2d 775; In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Grady, 188 Wis. 2d 98, 108-09, 523 N.W.2d 564 (1994); In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Schnitzler, 140 Wis. 2d 574, 577-78, 412 N.W.2d 124 (1987).”

“However, we agree with the referee’s implicit conclusion that a 60-day suspension, which would significantly disrupt Attorney Sommers’ practice of law and ability to earn a livelihood, is not warranted. Attorney Sommers was exonerated on the first count of the complaint, and we agree with the referee’s conclusion that the conduct of ADA Humphrey is a basis for limited mitigation of a sanction. However, a public reprimand is insufficient discipline for Attorney Sommers’ misconduct, particularly his disruptive outburst in court before Judge Pekowsky. We have concluded that we will deviate from our usual policy of requiring a minimum suspension of 60 days, and we hereby impose a 30-day suspension on Attorney Sommers’ license to practice law. This is an unusual case that calls for an unusual result. We caution Attorney Sommers that to the extent he might object to our deviation from policy, the court, after extensive deliberation, concluded that the misconduct in this matter required a suspension. Our choice was between a 60-day suspension and a 30-day suspension.”

2006AP2851-D OLR v. Sommers

Per Curiam.

Attorneys: For Appellant: Sommers, Joseph L., Oregon; For Respondent: Basting, Thomas J., Madison; Spoke, Julie Marie, Madison

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