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State v. Bjornson

Supreme Court of Montana

May 17, 2018


         ODC File No. 18-001

          Timothy B. Strauch Strauch Law Finn, PLLC, Lance P. Jasper, Reap, Bell, Laird & Jasper, PC, Attorneys for Respondent.

          David H. Bjornson, Respondent.


          Robert L. Deschamps, III District Judge.



         David H. Bjornson, being first duly sworn upon oath, deposes and affirms as follows.

         1. I am the Respondent in this matter, I tender my conditional admission and make this affidavit of consent pursuant to Rule 26, Montana Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement (2011), in exchange for the stated forms of discipline.

         2. I am a lawyer against whom a formal complaint has been filed alleging ethical misconduct. I am informed and aware of the allegations against me and understand that, if those allegations are proved by clear and convincing evidence, there exist grounds for discipline against me.

         3. I present this affidavit of consent and my tendered admission to an Adjudicatory Panel of the Commission on Practice in exchange for the forms of discipline described below: If the Commission on Practice approves my tendered admission, the Commission will issue a recommendation of approval to the Montana Supreme Court, which will then either approve or reject the tendered admission. Should either the Commission or Court reject the admission, :then I understand my admission shall be deemed withdrawn and cannot be used against m& in subsequent proceedings. I also acknowledge that I may be subject to reciprocal discipline by any other jurisdiction to which I am admitted upon the Court's approval and imposition of discipline, Including:

a. United States District Court, Montana;
b. United States Tax Court; and
c. Washington State Bar.

         4. My consent to discipline is freely and voluntarily tendered. I am not subject to coercion or duress of any kind. I am fully aware of the implications of submitting my conditional admission and affidavit of consent.

         5. I filed a Verified Answer unconditionally admitting to all the allegations in the Complaint.

         6. Consistent with the foregoing, I additionally admit pursuant to Rule 26 the following:

a. On November 7, 2017, I pleaded guilty to one count of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, 4th or Subsequent Offense, a felony, in violation of $61 -9-401(1)(a), MCA. A Pre-Sentence Investigation Report was ordered prior to sentencing on the conviction upon which the Complaint is predicated, which is filed as Exhibit A, a Sealed Document.
b. For the foregoing conviction, I received a five-year suspended sentence, with conditions, on January 2, 2018 (a copy of the Judgment is attached hereto as Exhibit B).
c. In addition to the above-referenced conviction, my criminal history includes: six additional DUI-related offenses listed below and is detailed in a summary-created by ODC in the attached Exhibit C:
i. 9/24/1998: DUI, misdemeanor; 2/5/1999 - amended to Per Se Operating: Motor Vehicle with .08; 10 days suspended, $300 fine;
ii. 10/24/1998: DUI, misdemeanor; 2/5/1999 - 6 months suspended, ACT program; $350 fine plus fees;
iii. 1/21/2001: DUI, misdemeanor(BAC .273); 12/28/2001 -1 year all but 10 days suspended; ACT/Turning Point program; $1000 fine plus fees;
iv. 12/31/2001: Reckless Driving, amended from DUI 3rd; 8/19/2002 - 90 days suspended; ACT program; $500 fine plus fees. Also Failure to Give Notice of Accident - 10 days suspended; SI 00 fine;
v. 6/15/2003: DUI, felony (Lake County) - 4/30/2004 - 13 mos. DOCw/2 year probation; $1, 000 fine; and
vi. 8/21/2009: DUI, felony (Carbon County) -12/14/09 - 5-year Deferred Prosecution; dismissed 12/14/09; $15, 000 reimbursement to Red Lodge Police Dept.

         7. I admit that my conviction of felony DUI and my alcohol addiction affect my ability to effectively practice law if I am not in compliance with the conditions set forth in the attached Exhibit D.

         8. By my conduct as outlined above and charged in the Complaint, I admit I violated the following Rules of Professional Conduct:

a. Rule 8A(3), RLDE, conduct which results in conviction of a criminal offense is a ground for discipline.
b. Rule 8.4(b), MRPC, it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects[.]"
c. Rule 23 C, RLDE, the sole issue to be determined in the formal disciplinary proceedings herein "shall be the extent of the final ...

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