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In re Complaint as to Conduct of Patrick M. McMahon
September 10, 1973
IN RE COMPLAINT AS TO THE CONDUCT OF PATRICK M. MCMAHON, ACCUSED
Review of decision and recommendation of the Board of Governors of the Oregon State Bar.
The accused has been charged by the Oregon State Bar with unethical conduct while serving as a deputy city attorney of the City of Portland. In each of the first two charges the Bar contends that the accused accepted money from a bail bondsman pursuant to an agreement to use the accused's position to secure for a defendant a favorable disposition by the
Municipal Court of the City of Portland of a case then pending before it. The Trial Committee and the Board of Governors unanimously found the accused not guilty of these charges. This court also finds the charges not proved by clear and convincing evidence and it concurs with the statement of the Trial Committee which said it was unable to give credence to many statements of the witnesses which were produced.
The remaining charge was that the accused accepted compensation and gratuities from the bail bondsman when the accused knew or should have known that the bail bondsman's interest could conflict with that of the City of Portland. The Trial Committee and the Board of Governors unanimously (all of those participating) found the accused guilty of this charge. The Trial Committee recommended a public reprimand. Six members of the Board of Governors recommended a six-month suspension; four members recommended a public reprimand. Neither the accused nor the Bar made any appearance in this court complaining of the recommendations of the Board of Governors. As a result, this court has not had the benefit of either the briefs or the arguments of counsel. The matter is before us on the voluminous transcript, the exhibits, and the recommendations of the Trial Committee and the Board of Governors.
The testimony proved that the accused received small favors from the bail bondsman, such as a name plate, small amounts of liquor, and entertainment. However, in addition, the evidence shows also that the accused borrowed money from the bail bondsman at no interest; that he lived in the bail bondsman's house under an agreement to pay rent, pursuant to which
agreement he gave the bail bondsman a note for his delinquency after he knew that his conduct with the bail bondsman was in question; and that he performed legal services for the bail bondsman, part of which was in connection with the bail bond business and for which he was paid cash on an irregular basis without the rendering of any statements or the giving of any receipts for payment.
The record also indicates that at times the interest of a bail bondsman and the interest of the city can be in conflict. Applications are made by the city to forfeit bail bonds for non-appearance of bailees. Applications are also made by bail bondsmen for the remission of such forfeitures either wholly or in part if the bailees subsequently make an appearance. The following is the testimony of the accused relating to such matters:
"Did you consider yourself to be on a sort of retainer ...
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