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In re Complaint As To Conduct of Kirchoff

Supreme Court of Oregon, En Banc

August 3, 2017

In re Complaint as to the Conduct of JAMES R. KIRCHOFF OSB No. 081879, Accused.

          Argued and submitted May 11, 2017

         OSB No. 1505

         On review of the decision of a trial panel of the Disciplinary Board, dated June 14, 2016.

          C. Robert Steringer, Harrang Long Gary Rudnick PC, Portland, argued the cause and fled the briefs for the Accused.

          Susan R. Cournoyer, Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, Tigard, argued the cause and fled the brief for the Oregon Stat e Ba r.

          Before Balmer, Chief Justice, and Kistler, Walters, Nakamoto, Flynn and Duncan, Justices, and Linder, Senior Justice pro tempore. [*]

         [361 Or. 713] Case Summary:

         The Oregon State Bar brought a disciplinary action against the accused lawyer, alleging four violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct, arising out his submission of a falsifed document to a trial court and to the Bar. A trial panel of the Disciplinary Board found that the accused had committed all of the charged violations and concluded that the accused should be suspended from the practice of law for two years. The accused lawyer sought review in the Supreme Court, arguing that the Bar had failed to prove the charged violations by clear and convincing evidence. He did not challenge the sanction.

         Held:

         On de novo review, the court concluded that there was clear and convincing evidence that the accused committed the charged violations of the disciplinary rules. Because neither party challenged the appropriateness of the sanction, the court also concluded that a two-year suspension was appropriate.

         The accused is suspended from the practice of law for two years, commencing 60 days from the date of this decision.

         [361 Or. 714] PER CURIAM.

         In this lawyer disciplinary proceeding, the Oregon State Bar charged James R. Kirchoff (the accused) with multiple violations of the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC), based on his submission of false evidence to a tribunal. A trial panel of the Disciplinary Board conducted a hearing, found that the accused had violated those rules, and determined that the appropriate sanction was suspension from the practice of law for a period of two years. The accused seeks review of the trial panel's finding that he committed the alleged violations. We review the trial panel's decision de novo. ORS 9.536(2); Bar Rule of Procedure (BR) 10.6. The Bar has the burden of establishing misconduct by clear and convincing evidence. BR 5.2. Clear and convincing evidence is evidence establishing that "the truth of the facts asserted is highly probable." In re Ellis I Rosenbaum.356 Or. 691, 693, 344 P.3d 425 (2015). For the reasons that follow, we agree with the trial panel that ...


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