Friday, March 17, 2006

Jailhouse Lawyers: The Story Continues

According to a Mar. 1, 2006 article in the Florida Times-Union, a Federal Court convicted attorney David Fleet in Oct. 2005 of "multiple counts of wire fraud, money laundering and other charges" and U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers sentenced him this week to three years incarceration. The article states that Fleet is to report to prison on May 1, 2006.

Despite Fleet’s criminal conviction and sentencing, as of Apr. 15, 2006 The Florida Bar's online records show Fleet is still a member in good standing of The Florida Bar and licensed to practice law. He is with the law firm Fleet, Spencer, Martin & Kilpatrick, P.A. and the firm's web page states he practices in the areas of criminal defense and business and commercial litigation out of the its Destin office.

Six months after Fleet’s conviction on multiple fraud related offenses against clients and weeks after being sentenced to Federal prison, The Florida Bar continues to allow Fleet’s practice of law and representation of clients.

This is not an isolated case. A Feb. 4, 2006 article in the Miami Herald reports that attorney Samuel I. Burstyn was sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison in a money-laundering case and ordered to permanently resign from The Florida Bar. According to the article, he entered a plea agreement back in Sept. 2005 and had already served seven months of his sentence.

The Florida Bar has plainly been well aware of Burstyn's conviction and sentencing according to a Feb. 6, 2006 posting on its web site. As of Mar. 3, 2006, Burstyn had already been incarcerated for seven months, yet The Florida Bar's online records still showed him as being a member in good standing and eligible to practice law.

The Florida Bar finally got around to taking at least some action. As of Mar. 17, 2006, The Florida Bar's online records have been changed to show Burstyn is now an “Other Affiliate” who is not currently eligible to practice law.

What about attorney David Fleet? When will The Florida Bar get around to addressing his status?

Copyright © 2006 by Jeffrey R. Hill. All rights reserved.

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