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State v. Bjornson

Supreme Court of Montana

May 17, 2018

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID HUNTER BJORNSON, Defendant.

         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.

          CONDITIONAL ADMISSION AND AFFIDAVIT OF CONSENT

          Robert L. Deschamps, III District Judge.

         STATE OF MONTANA

         COUNTY OF MISSOULA

         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 Should either the Commission or Court reject the admission, :then I understand my admission shall be deemed withdrawn and cannot be used against m& in subsequent proceedings.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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