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Board of Professional Responsibility v. Stinson

Supreme Court of Wyoming

May 17, 2017

BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, WYOMING STATE BAR, Petitioner,
v.
LAURENCE W. STINSON, WSB No. 6-2918, Respondent.

          ORDER REINSTATING ATTORNEY TO THE PRACTICE OF LAW

          E. JAMES BURKE Chief Justice.

         [¶1] This matter came before the Court upon an "Order Recommending the Grant of Petition for Reinstatement of Laurence W. Stinson, " filed herein May 3, 2017, by the Board of Professional Responsibility for the Wyoming State Bar. On February 24, 2016, this Court suspended Respondent from the practice of law for a period of nine months, with the suspension beginning on March 7, 2016. Board of Professional Responsibility, Wyoming State Bar v. Stinson, 2016 WY 25, 370 P.3d 72 (Wyo. 2016). Now, after a careful review of the Board of Professional Responsibility's Order Recommending the Grant of Petition for Reinstatement of Laurence W. Stinson and the file, this Court finds that the recommendation for reinstatement should be approved, confirmed, and adopted by the Court and that the Respondent, Laurence W. Stinson, should be reinstated to the practice of law. It is, therefore, [¶2] adjudged and ordered that the Board of Professional Responsibility's Order Recommending the Grant of Petition for Reinstatement of Laurence W. Stinson, which is attached hereto and incorporated herein, shall be, and the same hereby is, approved, confirmed, and adopted by this Court; and it is further

         [¶3] ADJUDGED AND ORDERED that the Respondent, Laurence W. Stinson, be, and hereby is, reinstated to the practice of law in Wyoming, effective immediately; and it is further

         [¶4] ORDERED that this Order Reinstating Attorney to the Practice of Law, along with the incorporated Order Recommending the Grant of Petition for Reinstatement of Laurence W. Stinson, shall be published in the Wyoming Reporter and the Pacific Reporter; and it is further

         [¶5] ORDERED that the Clerk of this Court shall docket this Order Reinstating Attorney to the Practice of Law, along with the incorporated Order Recommending the Grant of Petition for Reinstatement of Laurence W. Stinson, as a matter coming regularly before this Court as a public record; and it is further

         [¶6] ORDERED that the Clerk of this Court transmit a copy of this Order Reinstating Attorney to the Practice of Law to the members of the Board of Professional Responsibility and to the clerks of the appropriate courts of the State of Wyoming.

         [¶7] DATED this 17th day of May, 2017.

         BY THE COURT: [*] [†]

         BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT STATE OF WYOMING

         In the matter of the petition for reinstatement of LAURENCE W. STINSON, WSB Attorney No. 6-2918

         WSB No. 2014-102

         ORDER RECOMMENDING THE GRANT OF PETITION FOR REINSTATEMENT OF LAURENCE W. STINSON, WSB #6-2918

         THIS MATTER having come before the Board of Professional Responsibility In the matter of the petition for reinstatement of Laurence W. Stinson, WSB # 6-2918, the hearing having been held April 18, 2017 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and the Board being fully apprised in the premises, hereby makes the following findings:

         1. A reinstatement proceeding was initiated by the filing of a Petition for Reinstatement. The nine month suspension of Laurence W. Stinson started March 7, 2016. A Petition for Reinstatement was timely served on October 27, 2016 and filed by the Clerk of the Board of Professional Responsibility on November 3, 2016. During the nine month suspension, Bar dues were kept current, and CLE remained current. Bar Counsel did not stipulate to reinstatement based on concerns of a continued internet presence and lack of rehabilitation.

         2. The parties stipulated and agreed that the former Disciplinary Code of the Wyoming State Bar applies to Respondent's reinstatement proceedings as the Disciplinary Code was in effect at the time the formal charge in this matter was filed against Respondent in December, 2014. See, Board of Professional Responsibility v. Fulton, 370 P.3d 65 (Wyo. 2016); Reinstatement of Jones, 82 P.3d 1239 (Wyo. 2004).

         3. Section 24(g) of the Disciplinary Code provides:

If Bar Counsel does not stipulate to reinstatement or if the BPR or Court does not approve a stipulation for reinstatement, a hearing shall be held by the BPR. At the hearing, the suspended or disbarred attorney shall have the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence the following:
(i) The respondent has been rehabilitated;
(ii) The respondent has substantially complied with all requirements imposed by the Court;
(iii) The respondent has the character and fitness qualifications to practice law in this state as outlined in Section IV of the Wyoming Rules and Procedures Governing Admission to the Practice of Law;
(iv) The respondent is competent to practice law in this state;
(v) The respondent's resumption of the practice of law shall not be detrimental to the administration of justice and the public interest.

         4. Specific Character and Fitness Requirements. Section IV of the Wyoming Rules and Procedures Governing Admission to the Practice of Law (the "Admission Rules"), incorporated by reference in Section 24(g) of the Disciplinary Code, sets forth the character and fitness requirements for admission to the Wyoming State Bar. Rule 401 provides in relevant part: Rule 401. Character and Fitness Requirements.

(a) Duties of Applicant Every applicant must produce satisfactory evidence of good moral character and an adequate knowledge of the standards and ideals of the profession and that such person is otherwise fit to practice law within the State of Wyoming. The applicant shall have the burden of proving that the ...

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