Attorney Discipline

Alabama State Bar v. Kaminski; Alabama State Bar v. Marshall; Kaminski v. Alabama State Bar; Marshall v. Alabama State Bar, [Ms. 1200073, 1200074, 1200083, 1200084, Sept. 3, 2021] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2021). The Court (Shaw, J.; Parker, C.J., and Bolin, Mendheim, Stewart, and Mitchell, JJ., concur; Wise, Bryan, and Sellers, JJ., concur in the result) remands for further proceedings an order of the Disciplinary Board of the Alabama State Bar suspending Christopher Kaminski and Amy Marshall from the practice of law for 180 days and 90 days respectively. The Court notes that “[t]he material facts in these matters are undisputed: Kaminski, formerly a judge of the Coffee District Court, and Marshall, an Enterprise attorney who routinely appeared before the Coffee District Court, secretly engaged in an extramarital affair, during which Kaminski admittedly both appointed Marshall as counsel in pending cases and took judicial action in cases in which Marshall appeared as counsel of record, without disclosing their relationship to the parties.” Ms. *3. The State Bar argued the suspensions were too lenient while the attorneys argued that the Board should have imposed lesser punishments. Ms. *8.

The Court remands for further proceedings and explains

…[I]t is unclear to this Court how – or more precisely based on what evidence – the Board could have reached some of its findings regarding the existence or nonexistence of certain aggravating and mitigating circumstances. More critical than the absence of specific underlying factual findings, though the Board’s order also omits, in “determin[ing] the appropriate discipline in this matter,” reference to any supporting Standards pursuant to which that discipline was allegedly imposed – as Rule 4.2(b)(6)(C)(iii) specifically requires. The Board had an independent duty to comply with Rule 4.2, and this Court, which is called upon to approve the Board’s actions, is unable to do so in the present matters without either further clarification or additional information.

Ms. *12.

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