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In re Petition for Disciplinary Action against Hawkins

Supreme Court of Minnesota

July 31, 2013

In re Petition for Disciplinary Action against Allan R. Hawkins, III, a Minnesota Attorney, Registration

Original Jurisdiction Office of Appellate Courts

Martin A. Cole, Director, Timothy M. Burke, Senior Assistant Director, Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for petitioner.

Allan R. Hawkins, III, Scottsdale, Arizona, pro se.

Took no part, Lillehaug, J.

SYLLABUS

1. The attorney disciplinary proceedings conducted in Texas were fundamentally fair and consistent with due process.

2. Disbarment is the appropriate reciprocal discipline to impose on the attorney.

OPINION

PER CURIAM

A Texas court disbarred respondent attorney Allan R. Hawkins, III. After the Director of the Office of Lawyer's Professional Responsibility ("the Director") learned of Hawkins's disbarment, the Director petitioned this court to impose reciprocal discipline on Hawkins in Minnesota. Because we conclude that the disciplinary proceedings in Texas were fundamentally fair and that disbarment would not be unjust or substantially different from the discipline that would be imposed in Minnesota, we disbar Hawkins.

I.

At one time, Hawkins was admitted to practice law in at least four states: Arizona, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Texas. In 1997, the State Bar of Texas filed a disciplinary petition against Hawkins, alleging that Hawkins committed professional misconduct in his representation of a criminal defendant. In Texas, state district court judges conduct disciplinary trials and impose attorney discipline. During the trial, the court afforded Hawkins numerous procedural protections, including permitting him to retain counsel, respond to the petition, present evidence, participate in the proceedings, and testify in his own defense.

The Texas district court made the following factual findings after the trial.[1] In August 1994, a Texas district court ordered Hawkins to represent D.S. in a misdemeanor marijuana-possession case. At that time, Hawkins's practice focused on estate planning and taxation, not criminal defense. Hawkins filed a motion requesting that the court discharge him as D.S.'s counsel because, in his view, he was not competent to represent D.S. in a criminal matter without violating the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. Nonetheless, Hawkins filed a number of motions and made several court appearances in the criminal proceeding. When the State offered a plea deal, Hawkins forwarded the offer to D.S., but refused to discuss the State's offer with him. Without D.S.'s consent, Hawkins rejected the plea deal, explaining to the prosecutor that D.S. did not have sufficient funds to pay the fine included as part of the plea deal. Hawkins then filed a second motion requesting his discharge as D.S.'s counsel.

The court rejected Hawkins's motion following a hearing. The court found that Hawkins was competent to represent D.S. and issued an order that required Hawkins to continue his representation of D.S. in the criminal proceeding. Contrary to the court's order, Hawkins sent D.S. the following letter:

I am enclosing a copy of an order which I received today. Judge Fitz–Gerald has decided that you ...

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