A high-profile attorney known for defending Jeffrey Dahmer and the former Green Bay Packers star Mark Chmura is arguing that his license to practice law in Wisconsin should not be suspended.
Gerald Boyle, a Milwaukee attorney, faces a 60-month suspension of his law license after the Office of Lawyer Regulation filed a complaint against him alleging that he committed six acts of misconduct. Among the misdeeds he is accused of are mishandling client fees and failing to file a lawsuit in a timely way.
Boyle began his allotted time for arguments before the Wisconsin Supreme Court by admitting that he did do some things wrong and saying would take responsibility for those actions.
“I just don’t think I should be suspended,” he later told the court. He said he has only a short time left to practice, and he would like to practice without interruption.
Boyle acknowledged that he made an oral agreement about fees with one of his clients, when he should have reached a written one laying out what he would do.
“There’s no excuse for my not doing that,” he said. “It’s my fault and no one else’s fault.”
Boyle said he had discussions with the client and thought there was no cause for concern.
He also acknowledged that he had been previously disciplined and come under public reprimand in 2002, 2009 and 2012. But in those cases, he argued, he was taking responsibility for the actions of various attorneys who had worked for him.
Boyle also discussed the alleged trust-account violation, noting that in 45 years, he had never been faced with serious questions about how he handled his practice’s finances, until now. As a criminal defense attorney, he has the option of not using a trust account, he said.
However, Robert Krohn, counsel for the Office of Lawyer regulation, said Boyle had shown during hearings held with a referee a blatant disregard for the rules of professional conduct. That disregard, Krohn said, provide an idea of how well the rules are followed, or not followed, in his practice.
Krohn also said that Boyle had provided nothing more than “bluster and promise” to one particular client and that it took years for him to get anything done in the matter.
Boyle and Krohn argued before a slightly modified group of Supreme Court Justices. At least one of the Justices who has been on the bench for a while had taken different seats on Monday.
Justices Gableman, Prosser and Abrahamson sat to the left of Roggensack, whereas justices Ann Walsh Bradley, Ziegler and Rebecca Bradley sat to her right. Prosser sat where the late Justice Patrick Crooks had once sat. Crooks died in office last month.
To fill the vacancy, Walker appointed Rebecca Bradley, who was sworn in an hour just before the Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments Monday. She did not ask questions during oral arguments.Follow @erikastrebel