In re Katherine Z. Pope, Esq
Original Jurisdiction, Professional Responsibility Board, DOCKET NO. 2014-48.
John A. Dooley, Associate Justice, Marilyn S. Skoglund, Associate Justice, Beth Robinson, Associate Justice, Geoffrey W. Crawford, Associate Justice
In the above-entitled cause, the Clerk will enter:
[¶1] In this reciprocal attorney-discipline proceeding we must decide whether to impose the same sanction-a two-year suspension from the practice of law-as that imposed by the State of New York against respondent Katherine Z. Pope, Esq. For the reasons set forth below, we conclude that the record warrants imposition of the identical discipline in Vermont.
[¶2] In April 2014, disciplinary counsel for the Professional Responsibility Board notified the Court that respondent -- an attorney admitted to the practice of law in the states of New York and Vermont -- had received a two-year suspension from the practice of law in New York based on a conviction of the offense of identity theft in the third degree, a class A misdemeanor, contrary to N.Y. Penal Law § 190.78.
[¶3] Pursuant to A.O. 9, Rule 20.B(2), we issued an order directing respondent to inform the Court within thirty days of any claim that imposition of the identical discipline in Vermont would be unwarranted and the reasons therefore. Paragraph D of Rule 20
provides that the Court " shall impose the identical discipline" imposed in another jurisdiction unless it clearly appears from the record from which the discipline is predicated, or either party demonstrates, that:
(1) The procedure was so lacking in notice or opportunity to be heard as to constitute a deprivation of due process; or
(2) There was such infirmity of proof establishing the misconduct as to give rise to the clear conviction that the Court could not, consistent with its duty, accept as final the conclusion on that subject; or
(3) The imposition of the same discipline by the Court would result in grave injustice; or
(4) The misconduct established warrants substantially different discipline in this state.
A.O. 9, Rule 20.D.
[¶4] On May 15, 2014, respondent filed her response. Based on her recitation of the facts underlying the criminal offense, she argued that imposition of the identical discipline would be unwarranted for reasons (2), (3), and (4) of Rule 20.D. In summary, she stated that the criminal charges arose from her efforts to help an elderly friend liquidate various stock holdings necessary to pay for her friend's care, and to that end respondent made a number of telephone calls in which she identified herself as her friend to obtain information necessary to facilitate the transactions. Respondent also stated that some of the funds her friend obtained during this period, in the amount of $750,000, were ...