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Bar News - May 15, 2009


NH Supreme Court Professional Conduct Committee

Jeffco, Stephen T. advs. Bruce P. Brouillard #05-076

PUBLIC CENSURE SUMMARY

 

The New Hampshire Supreme Court Professional Conduct Committee deliberated the above-captioned matter and issued a Public Censure on February 21, 2009.

           

Mr. Brouillard’s complaint relates to Mr. Jeffco’s performance as defense counsel in a criminal matter and related forfeiture claim pursued by the Unites States in the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire.

 

The Committee accepted the Stipulation as to the facts, which established those facts by clear and convincing evidence that:

1.                   The Respondent represented his client from June, 2001, through negotiations, indictment, debriefing, and sentencing in a criminal matter, ending in July, 2005.

2.                   Mr. Brouillard complained to Mr. Jeffco about his inability to communicate with him by telephone in two letters dated September 13, 2002 and May 6, 2003.

3.                   Mr. Brouillard wrote to Mr. Jeffco on March 21, 2005, requesting copies of pleadings filed in the U.S. District Court and the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and correspondence with the U.S. Attorney.

4.                   Mr. Brouillard wrote to Mr. Jeffco on May 20, 2005, to complain that he had not received materials he had requested, and that Mr. Jeffco had not handled the forfeiture issues properly, resulting in financial loss.

5.                   Mr. Brouillard wrote to Mr. Jeffco on June 6, 2005, asking for an explanation of why he did not receive offense level reduction under the safety valve provisions of the federal Sentencing Guidelines and whether there was any other avenue of appeal.

6.                   Mr. Jeffco did not respond to Mr. Brouillard’s aforementioned correspondences in March, May, and June, 2005.  Mr. Jeffco does not remember receiving the May and June, 2005 letters.  On July 7, 2005, Mr. Brouillard, pro se, filed a Motion to Vacate Sentence.

7.                   By Order of October 13, 2006, the U.S. District Court re-sentenced Mr. Brouillard to 36 months.  Mr. Brouillard was released on December 17, 2006, after serving a total of 34 months in prison.

 

The Committee also accepted the Stipulation as to the N.H. Rules of Professional Conduct that were violated: 1.3: Diligence; 1.4: Communication and 8.4(a): Misconduct, by clear and convincing evidence.

 

  • By failing to address material issues, Mr. Jeffco failed diligently to protect Mr. Brouillard’s interests at sentencing and on appeal, thereby causing delay in obtaining more appropriate sentencing for Mr. Brouillard under the federal Sentencing Guidelines.
  • Mr. Jeffco failed to adequately advise Mr. Brouillard relative to the terms and effect of the plea agreement, with particular regard to the provision for safety valve treatment in sentencing and the government’s position on application of the safety valve.
  • Mr. Jeffco failed to timely respond to many of Mr. Brouillard’s various telephone calls and written inquires.

 

Respondent was issued a Public Censure and was assessed all costs associated with the investigation and prosecution of this matter. This matter is public record, and available for inspection at the New Hampshire Supreme Court Attorney Discipline Office, 4 Chenell Drive, Suite 102, Concord, New Hampshire 03301.

 

April 14, 2009

 

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