November 27, 2013
IN THE MATTER OF JEFFREY MICHAEL, an Attorney at Law, Respondent
ORDER OF DISCIPLINE
On November 7, 2012, a formal disciplinary complaint was filed against Montana attorney Jeffrey Michael. The disciplinary complaint may be reviewed by any interested persons in the office of the Clerk of this Court.
The Commission on Practice held a hearing on the complaint on July 19, 2012, at which hearing Michael was present and testified on his own behalf. On October 7, 2013, the Commission submitted to this Court its Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Recommendation for discipline. Michael did not file any objections within the time allowed.
The Commission has concluded, based on the allegations of the complaint and the evidence produced at the hearing, that Michael violated Rule 8.4(d) of the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC), by engaging in conduct that was prejudicial to the administration of justice. The Commission concluded Michael was abusive, disruptive, and threatening to attorney Elizabeth J. Honaker in person at the Billings Municipal Court Clerk's Office in October of 2011, and in a voicemail message he left for her in January of 2012. The Commission concluded that, on both dates, Michael's conduct was an obvious attempt to get Honacker to stop pursuing the legal rights of her client-Michael's former client—to have a criminal conviction overturned and to pursue a complaint of ethical violations against Michael.
The Commission recommends that, as a result of his violations of the MRPC, Michael should be publicly censured by this Court, placed on probation for a year, required to complete a counseling assessment with a focus on anger and to complete all recommendations from that assessment, and ordered to pay the costs of these proceedings.
The Court now having reviewed the record and the Commission's findings, conclusions, and recommendations,
IT IS ORDERED:
1. The Commission's Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Recommendations are ACCEPTED and ADOPTED.
2. Jeffrey Michael shall appear before this Court for a public censure to be administered in our courtroom at 1:15 o'clock p.m. on January 7, 2014
3. Michael's license to practice law in Montana is placed on probation for one year from the date of this Order.
4. Michael shall pay for and complete a counseling assessment with a focus on anger. The assessing counselor must complete a report which shall be sent to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC). That report shall assist counseling providers in properly assessing Michael's need for counseling and treatment. Michael shall execute releases so that the counselor conducting the assessment will be authorized to furnish reports, upon request, to ODC to confirm Michael's attendance and successful completion of the assessment.
5. Michael shall pay for and complete all recommendations for counseling, referrals, attendance at psycho educational groups, or treatment made by the counseling provider conducting the counseling assessment. The preliminary assessment and counseling must be:
(i) with a person licensed under Title 37, Chapter 17, 22, or 23, MCA; or
(ii) with a professional person as defined in 53-21-102, MCA.
6. Michael shall execute a release authorizing his counselor to furnish reports, upon request, to ODC to confirm his attendance and successful completion of anger management counseling.
7. Michael shall pay the costs of these proceedings subject to the provisions of Rule 9(A)(8) of the Montana Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement, allowing objections to be filed to the statement of costs.
The Clerk of this Court is directed to serve a copy of this Order of Discipline upon Jeffrey Michael, and to provide copies to Disciplinary Counsel, the Office Administrator for the Commission on Practice, the Clerks of all the District Courts of the state of Montana, each district court judge in the state of Montana, the Clerk of the Federal District Court for the District of Montana, the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit, and the Executive Director of the State Bar of Montana.