Maurice Terrance Daniels, Sr., Complainant vs. Brian D. Russell, Respondent
Grievance Complaint #03-0196
Pursuant to Practice Book ß2-35, the undersigned, duly-appointed reviewing committee of the Statewide Grievance Committee, conducted a hearing at the Superior Court, 1061 Main Street, Bridgeport, Connecticut on June 2, 2004.† The hearing addressed the record of the complaint filed on September 5, 2003, and the probable cause determination rendered by a reviewing committee of the Statewide Grievance Committee on April 16, 2004, finding that there existed probable cause that the Respondent violated Rule 1.4(b) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.† The reviewing committeeís probable cause determination was contrary to the determination of no probable cause filed by the Hartford Judicial District Grievance Panel for Geographical Area 13 and the town of Hartford on January 15, 2004.
Notice of the hearing was mailed to the Complainant and to the Respondent on April 27, 2004.† The Complainant and the Respondent appeared at the hearing.† Reviewing committee member Attorney Dominick Rutigliano was not present for the hearing.† Since his participation was not waived, Attorney Rutigliano reviewed the record, including the transcript of the hearing, and participated in this decision.† An exhibit was received into evidence.
This reviewing committee makes the following findings of fact by clear and convincing evidence:
The Respondent represented the Complainant in his appeal of the Superior Courtís dismissal of the Complainantís habeas petition.† On February 14, 2003, the Respondent received notice of the Appellate Courtís decision affirming the Superior Courtís decision.† The Appellate Courtís decision was published on February 18, 2003.† On that same date, the Respondent wrote to the Complainant notifying him of the Appellate Courtís decision.† The Respondent did not inform the Complainant of the deadline for filing a petition for certification or whether the Respondent would or would not file the petition for certification.† On or before March 18, 2003, the Respondent received an e-mail from the Chief Public Defenderís Office informing him that the Complainant wanted to petition for certification.† However, the deadline for petitioning had already passed on March 11, 2003.† The Respondent responded to the Complainant on March 18, 2003 informing him that the deadline had passed and that there was no legal basis for filing a petition for certification.
This reviewing committee finds the following violations by clear and convincing evidence:
By failing to explain to the Complainant his right to petition for certification prior to the deadline for petitioning, the Respondent violated Rule 1.4(b) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Whether or not the Respondent believed the Complainant has sustainable grounds to petition for certification, the Respondent had a duty to provide the Complainant with information in a timely manner regarding the merits of filing for certification to permit the Complainant to make an informed decision regarding petitioning.
Accordingly, this reviewing committee reprimands the Respondent.
Attorney Rita A. Steinberger
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Attorney Dominick J. Rutigliano
Mr. William J. Carroll