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Michigan attorney faces discipline for smuggling drugs to client

John Waters

John Waters

An attorney faces a three-year suspension of his law license in Wisconsin for discipline he received in Michigan, including smuggling drugs to a client in jail.

John Waters has been licensed to practice law in Wisconsin since 2002. He earned his degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2000. According to the State Bar website, his license had been suspended for not submitting a trust account report and for not completing continuing legal education requirements. Waters has no disciplinary history in Wisconsin, according to the Office of Lawyer Regulation.

Waters could not be reached using the phone numbers listed with the OLR and the State Bar.

In a complaint filed Aug. 13, the OLR alleges that John Waters, who practiced in Grand Rapids, Mich., failed to report that his Michigan license was suspended in 2012 when he was convicted of two felony counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

According to court records, he was found guilty of smuggling a prescription painkiller, Suboxone, to a client in a county jail in 2011. Waters was sentenced to between 14 months and 7 years in prison, according to court filings. He was discharged from prison in June.

By law, he was supposed to report the convictions to the OLR within 20 days of the June 2013 notice issued by Michigan’s Attorney Discipline Board.

The State of Michigan Attorney Discipline Board in June 2013 issued a notice that Waters’ Michigan license was to be suspended retroactively for the two convictions and for misconduct involving two of his clients. The board also found that Waters failed to properly communicate with clients, did not refund unearned fees or release two client files and did not cooperate in an investigation of the misconduct.

The board ordered Waters to pay $2,600 in restitution and $870.68 in court costs.

In February, the Attorney Discipline board issued a notice adding another year to Waters’ suspension, noting that he failed to comply with the 2013 order.

The OLR, according to its complaint, is asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to impose reciprocal discipline on Waters: a three-year suspension of his license to practice law in Wisconsin.


About Erika Strebel, [email protected]

Erika Strebel is the law beat reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal and a law school student at UW-Madison. She can be reached at 414-225-1825.

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