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Lawyer is disbarred for mishandling shopper verify, recording trial with concealed-camera eyeglasses

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Lawyer is disbarred for mishandling shopper verify, recording trial with concealed-camera eyeglasses

A New York lawyer has been disbarred in reference to a mortgage from a shopper, the wrongful use of funds earmarked for a transcript and a secret court docket recording.

The Appellate Division’s First Judicial Division of the New York State Supreme Court docket disbarred lawyer Angel Antonio Castro III of New York in a Nov. 3 opinion.

The appeals court docket mentioned findings by a referee “are firmly supported by the file.” As a result of the referee discovered that Castro deliberately transformed shopper funds, and there’s no important mitigating proof, Castro must be disbarred, the appeals court docket mentioned.

Castro informed the ABA Journal in an electronic mail that he will likely be enchantment and will likely be “pursuing no matter authorized choices I’ve obtainable.”

“I made errors,” Castro says, “however there are many mitigating components and definitely no malice or deceit.”

The allegations in opposition to Castro stemmed from three separate issues, the appeals court docket mentioned. They’re:

    • A shopper gave Castro a verify for $3,500 that was expressly earmarked for trial transcripts wanted for an enchantment. Castro deposited the verify into his enterprise account however by no means paid for the transcripts. He made withdrawals for enterprise and private bills from the account, leaving a stability of $70. Castro had contended that the verify was a retainer to spend as he needed.

    • Castro wore eyeglasses with a hid digital camera to make an unauthorized recording of a matrimonial trial.

    • Castro borrowed $100,000 from a shopper in 2017 to start out his regulation follow. Castro drafted the mortgage settlement and compensation plan “regardless of the self-dealing nature of this transaction,” the appeals court docket mentioned. The shopper alleged that Castro solely repaid $25,000.

Castro had sought to switch the disciplinary continuing to the appeals court docket’s Fourth Judicial Division as a result of he represented a former First Judicial Division worker who alleged sexual harassment.

He additionally claimed that the referee didn’t give the right weight in mitigation to proof in regards to the results of his arrest and damage by the New York Police Division. The fees have been dropped, however Castro mentioned he suffers from post-traumatic stress dysfunction, despair and different issues because of the incident.

The appeals court docket mentioned his declare of potential bias by the court docket is with out advantage. The court docket additionally mentioned the referee thought-about the mitigation proof and decided that it wasn’t “extraordinarily uncommon” in order to warrant a lesser sanction.

Castro mentioned in his electronic mail to the Journal that there isn’t a transparency within the disciplinary course of.

He alleges that ethics regulators “didn’t comply with written procedures and failed to show over exculpatory proof.”

“There exists no sworn testimony nor statements from any of the complainants,” Castro says. “One in all them is presently dealing with legal costs based mostly on threats he made to former Chief Decide Janet DiFiore’s secretary as a part of his marketing campaign to contact and harass everybody concerned to affect the grievance course of.”

Hat tip to the Authorized Occupation Weblog, which posted opinion highlights, and Legislation.com, which had protection of the choice.

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