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In re Everett

Supreme Court of Arizona

February 28, 1956

In the Matter of O. Ellis EVERETT, a Member of the State Bar of Arizona.

T. J. Byrne, Prescott, for the State Bar.

H. Karl Mangum, Flagstaff, Arthur M. Johnson and W. H. Chester, Phoenix, for respondent.

PER CURIAM.

This disciplinary proceeding directed against respondent, O. Ellis Everett, a member of the State Bar of Arizona, stems from the following letter, admittedly written by respondent on August 14, 1950, to his client, one Francis Platt, of Salt Lake City, Utah, viz.:

'A man has offered me One Thousand Five Hundred ($1,500.00) Cash for the Compressor which I had trucked in. It cost me Fifty ($50.00) Dollars to have it brought in. So, if you will have the enclosed Bill Of Sale properly executed and return it to me, I will send you One-half of the One Thousand Five Hundred ($1,500.00) Dollars minus my Fifty ($50.00) Dollars which will be Seven Hudred ($700.00) Dollars net to you.

'Please expedite this Business because I do not want to miss the Sale which will give us a little money. * * *' (Emphasis supplied.)

According to complainant Platt's version of the affair he subsequently learned from the purchaser of the compressor that $2,000 had been paid for it, and being unable to effect a settlement with respondent he reported the matter to the State Bar of Arizona. This complaint was referred to Local Administrative Committee for District No. 1, and on June 8, 1951 the following charges of professional misconduct were made against respondent, viz.:

'Item 1:-That you advised the complainant, representative of your said clients, by letter dated August 14, 1950, that you had been offered $1,500.00 in cash, for a compressor, which was for sale by reason of the suit above mentioned and proceedings therein, when in truth and in fact, you were offered and subsequently received $2,000.00 for said compressor.

[80 Ariz. 125] 'Item 2:-That you retained $500.00 of the $2,000.00 payment above described, without any authorization so to do from your clients.'

Chronologically the proceedings against respondent were as follows:

June 15, 1951        Preliminary hearing,

August 22, 1952      First order to show cause
                      issued,

September 16, 1952   Formal hearing thereon, before
                      three committee
                      members but no decision
                      made,

                   *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

July 21, 1954        New complaint (on identical
                      charges) filed by new
                      chairman of administrative
                      committee, and another
                      order to show cause
                      issued,

September 13, 1954   Hearing held,

September 22, 1954   Findings of fact and recommendations
                      as to discipline
                      made, signed by
                      five members of committee,

October, 1954        Administrative committee
                      record lodged with State
                      Bar Secretary,

November 4, 1954     Respondent notified of their
                      finding,

June 11, 1955        Hearing before Board of
                      Governors, and matter decided
                      same date,

July 6, 1955         Record certified to this
                      court.

Page 929

It will be noted that more than four years elapsed between the initiation of this proceeding and the filing of the record thereof with this court. This delay on the part of the Local Administrative Committee, in our opinion was inexcusable and constitutes a reflection on the State Bar of Arizona. Certainly it was not in keeping with either the letter or the spirit of our rules goverming such matters. Rule 35(a) provides:

'* * * the committee shall proceed with the hearing unless for good cause shown they shall continue the hearing. No continuance shall be for a longer period than thirty days nor for periods aggregating more than ninety days without the approval of this court.'

and Rule 35(d) provides:

'Upon conclusion of the formal hearing, the committee shall promptly determine whether the charges shall be ...


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