We have previously blogged about the now infamous DUI set-up during a civil trial involving two Tampa Bay area DJ s. We then blogged about the possible punishment and the aftermath. Now there is word coming down that the Florida Bar has recommended permanent disbarment for several of the involved. Is this an unfair punishment or is this justice? The Supreme Court may have the final word…
Pinellas County senior judge W. Douglas Baird will have some tough decisions in the next few months. The Florida Bar has asked the judge to disbar three of the lawyers involved in the high profile defamation lawsuit in 2013.
Florida Bar attorneys made a recommendation for Stephen Diaco a partner in a Tampa Bay law firm, to be permanently disbarred for his role in a rival lawyer’s DUI arrest in 2013. Stephen Diaco’s actions were called “malicious and [done] for personal gain”. The disciplinary committee went on to mention how his set up arrest and subsequent possible discovery violations disrupted a defamation trial and “tarnished the reputation of the legal profession and the Tampa Police Department”.
Stephen’s fellow collaborators were not off the hook. Based on their lesser actions, the State Bar recommended that both Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut be disbarred for five years (meaning they would be unable to practice law for at least five years, must alert their clients and shut down their firm/make arrangements for an orderly transition). After this five year “break”, Robert and Adam would be able to reapply to the Florida Bar. They most likely would have to retake the Florida Bar exam, go through the admission process and have their character questioned. Additionally, they will forever have an ethics “black mark” next to their name.
Just last month, the Honorable Douglas Baird found all three of the attorneys guilty of unethical actions based on their conduct. To recap, this was the opposing lawyer (the former 93.3 DJ MJ’s attorney) who was seen drinking at a bar during trial by Diaco’s secretary. She quickly called him and his colleagues. They instructed her to keep the attorney there and to keep him drinking. The secretary kept flirting with the attorney, buying him drinks and lying about where she worked. Meanwhile, Diaco and the gang were contacting a Tampa police department officer (now fired) who happened to be their friend.
When the time was right, the plan was put into action. The secretary insisted that the rival attorney move her car, despite him telling her no several times, he eventually relented and was instantly pulled over by the same police officer. He was arrested for driving under the influence and all his legal briefs and trial preparation was left in the secretary’s car overnight.
Judge Baird mostly blamed Stephen Diaco for being the ringleader, finding him guilty of twice the violations as either Robert or Adam. Among the most egregious violations? Lying to a judge under oath about not knowing who his cellphone provider was!
Diaco’s lawyers defended their client, asking the judge not to destroy his career. They mentioned his charitable works and his remorse.
Meanwhile, the other attorneys were still begging for a 91 day suspension- a request that has previously been rejected by a judge. Have you or a loved one been arrested for a DUI or a possession of a controlled substance? Then call the Tampa Bay DUI defense lawyers of Blake & Dorsten, P.A. today! These former prosecutors are experienced trial attorneys.
The attorneys of Blake & Dorsten, P.A. handle all criminal and personal injury cases throughout the Gulf Coast including Tampa Bay, Saint Petersburg, Clearwater, Bradenton, Sarasota, Dade City, New Port Richey, Largo, Seminole, Pinellas Park, St. Pete Beach, Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Dunedin and Tarpon Springs.