Please be so kind as to e-mail me your draft Disciplinary Notice so I need not retype it when I suggest factual corrections and changes "to adequately inform the public." I understand it will appear once in the printed Bar News, and will appear on the Bar's on-line directory for me for so long as I remain a lawyer.
Please consider whether you personally have a conflicting interest in determining what information should be made public in that Notice. In your letter to me of August 15, 1996, you declared that your investigation discovered no evidence of misconduct in the way that lawyer Grant L. Anderson (before he was elected a judge) and his colleagues had "milked" the Hoffman Estate. Excerpts from your letter are quoted at http://dougschafer.com/960815_JAS.htm.
But nearly seven years later, Justice Bridge was openly describing Anderson as CORRUPT because of his fraud upon the beneficiaries of that Hoffman Estate, declaring, "We find a second mitigating factor applicable--that because of Schafer's actions, a corrupt judge was exposed and the public was served by the judge's removal from office."
And in the next paragraph she wrote, "Schafer could and should have sought to remove the corrupt judge without revealing his client's confidences."
And later in her majority opinion she wrote, "Here, Schafer's unethical conduct resulted in the removal of a corrupt judge. Harsh discipline under these circumstances would likely undermine the public's confidence in the legal profession."
It seems that the Notice ought to inform the public and members of the bar of why the court determined not to discipline me harshly. You and others in the Bar Office seem unable to use the word "corrupt" even when it so plainly fits, as it all too often does. The majority opinion used the word "corrupt" three times to describe former judge Anderson (now an active lawyer who again fits right in with his peers); the minority opinion used "corrupt" or a form of it four times. It seems to me that after nearly eight years of stubbornly adamant denials, the Bar Office staff could also publicly refer to Anderson as corrupt. (But see your carefully sanitized Public Notice about corrupt lawyer Grant Anderson at http://pro.wsba.org/PublicView-Discipline.asp?Usr_Discipline_ID=152 .) The more that you folks refuse to acknowledge the truth, the more it appears that you folks are as corrupt as he was (and he presumably still is).
The lesson from my disciplinary case is that our state's lawyer and judge fraternity regards loyalty to clients as more important than maintaining or restoring integrity in their so-called judicial system. That simply offers one more thing for the public to joke about.
WSBA No. 8652
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Mr. Schafer -- Ms. Shankland is the Assistant General Counsel of the Washington State Bar Association and serves as counsel to the Disciplinary Board. The act of drafting a discipline notice summarizing facts in the Supreme Court opinion pursuant to ELC 3.5(c) does not present any conflict of interest based on the facts that you have described. Pursuant to that rule, the counsel to the Board will serve a copy of the draft notice on you and on disciplinary counsel. She will review any comments submitted by either of you. She will make the final decision about the content of that notice. ELC 3.5(c).
Washington State Bar Association
-------- Original Message --------
Though Ms. Julie Shankland now is WSBA Assistant General Counsel, she was in 1996 the Disciplinary Counsel assigned to investigate the corruption of lawyer-judge Grant L. Anderson that was clearly evident in the collection of documents that I provided to her (as I provided to other authorities) in early 1996. After multiple contacts with Anderson's lawyer, former WSBA General Counsel Kurt Bulmer (but no substantive contacts with me), she declared by letter in August 1996 that she had found no evidence of misconduct by Anderson. As a result, the WSBA never, ever, charged Anderson with any violation whatsoever of the Rules of Professional Conduct! However, the documents that I gave to Julie Shankland led the primary victim of Anderson's estate fraud, a public hospital (represented by former WSBA Pres. Steve Reisler), to bring a $1 million fraud claim (settled in 1998 for half of that) against Anderson and his professional colleagues, led the Commission on Judicial Conduct in 1997 to charge Anderson for his fraudulent Cadillac kickback from his friend to whom the sold the estate's bowling alley, and led the State Supreme Court in 1999 to remove Anderson for what they then called his "pattern of dishonest behavior" and in 2003 to acknowledge emphatically that Anderson was corrupt judge (because of his corrupt dealings while he was a practicing lawyer!).
Julie Shankland's conflicting personal interest (and likely yours, as well) in summarizing the Supreme Court's ruling in my case is to suppress those facts that illustrate the incompetent or corrupt mishandling by the State Bar staff of the Anderson case. In her proposed Discipline Notice (attached to this message as a PDF file), she suppressed the fact that I provided all the documents to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel and the Commission on Judicial Conduct as well as to the identified law enforcement authorities. Notice that her proposal fails to note that my former client, consistent with his statement that I revealed to her and others, actually did repay Judge Anderson for the good deal on the bowling alley by paying for his new Cadillac. Notice that her proposal conveniently fails to inform readers that Judge Anderson was emphatically declared by the Supreme Court to be corrupt. The Court's own words were, "Schafer could and should have sought to remove the corrupt judge without revealing his client's confidences," which statement she dilutes to be: "The Court found that Mr. Schafer could have made his allegations against Mr. X without revealing his client's secrets and confidences." Her suppression of the key facts is a continuation of the cover-up of Anderson's corruption by her and others in the State Bar office that has lasted for nearly eight years now. Her conflicting interest is apparent to all except other Bar insiders who share her conflict.
The Discipline Notice should inform the Bar and the public that my disciplinary case addressed prioritizing judicial system integrity against client confidentiality. I provided to authorities in 1996 all the relevant information that I possessed about a clearly corrupt judge, including statements made in 1992 by a client who was then conspiring with him to defraud an estate and who later repaid him with a Cadillac. The Supreme Court agreed with the Bar Association that client statements may not be revealed by a lawyer even to expose a corrupt judge -- that client confidentiality was of higher priority than judicial system integrity.
I urge you to consult on the question of Ms. Shankland's (and other Bar insiders') conflict in drafting a Discipline Notice with an informed but independent lawyer who has demonstrated a degree of integrity, such as former WSBA president Steve Reisler of Odgen Murphy Wallace PLLC. Thank you.
WSBA No. 8652
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Will you be sending additional comments?
-------- Original Message --------
Yes, absolutely. If I must wear your notice on my listing in the Bar's on-line directory -- like a scarlet letter tatooed on my forehead -- I'd like it to be accurately informative. Every member of the public that I interact with shares my view that corrupt judges are intolerable, and that revealing a client statement to expose corruption involving a sitting judge and that client is appropriate. The Bar and Supreme Court disagreed on that point. Doug Schafer.
-------- Original Message --------
Julie Shankland, Bob Welden, and others:
Consistent with my earlier comments concerning the discipline notice of my case, I enclose as my proposed revision of the draft notice that I received from you on December 16. I attach it in formats of both MS Word and Adobe Acrobat PDF. I believe that it more accurately informs lawyers and the public of the material facts and issues in the case, and it refers them to public records for more information should they desire it. Substantially every statement in this draft is taken directly from a passage in court's majority opinion, and I attach a PDF copy of that ruling in which I have highlighted those passages. If you are inclined to vary from any passage of this draft, please allow me to explain to you why I regard such passage as important to meet the purposes for which disciplinary notices are published.
Please confirm to me that you have received this message and its attachments in readable form.
Doug Schafer, WSBA No. 8652.
Proposed Disciplinary Notice:
Douglas Schafer (WSBA No. 8652, admitted 1978), of Tacoma was suspended for six months, effective April 17, 2003, by order of the Washington State Supreme Court following a hearing. Schafer has returned to active status. This discipline was based on his conduct in 1996 and 1998 unnecessarily disclosing a client’s confidences to expose a corrupt judge. For further information please see In re Schafer, 149 Wn.2d 148, 66 P.3d 1036 (2003).
Final (mostly as initially proposed) Disciplinary Notice:
Douglas Schafer (WSBA No. 8652,
admitted 1978), of
|In August 1992, client A engaged Schafer to form a corporation through which client A planned to purchase a bowling alley from the B estate. The client told Schafer that Grant Anderson, as personal representative and attorney for that estate, had been “milking” it for four years. Client A also told Schafer that Anderson was about to become a judge and needed to close the sale quickly before assuming the bench. Client A said Anderson was giving the client a “good deal” on the bowling alley and that he would repay Anderson “down the road.”||
In August 1992, Mr. Schafer agreed to form a
corporation for a client. The purpose of the corporation was to
bowling alley from an estate. During a conversation the client told Mr.
that Mr. X., the personal representative of the estate had been
estate for four years. The client also told Mr. Schafer that Mr. X was
the client a “good deal” on the bowling alley and that he
would repay Mr. X.
“down the road.”
| Three years
later, Schafer represented a different client, C, in a
case before Anderson, who had been elected a Superior Court judge in
September 1992. In December 1995, after a hearing at which Judge
Anderson ruled against client C, Schafer began investigating
conduct in the B estate. On the recommendation of a lawyer then
representing Anderson’s wife in their marital dissolution,
investigated Anderson’s acquisition of a Cadillac and discovered
leading him to believe that client A had paid for it. On February
1996, client A wrote to Schafer terminating their relationship and
stressing that Schafer had “no authority to disclose any
information, relating to your prior representation of me.” One of
client A’s other lawyers then wrote to Schafer that any
regarding client A would be in violation of RPC 1.6.
Three years later, Mr. Schafer represented a client
in a case before Mr. X, who had become a judge. In December 1995, Judge
against Mr. Schafer’s client, imposing sanction. On that same
day, Mr. Schafer
started investigating Mr. X’s role in the H estate. On February
1, 1996, the
client terminated Mr. Schafer’s representation and told Mr.
Schafer he had “no
authority to disclose any privileged information, relating to your
representation of me.” The client retained new counsel who wrote
to Mr. Schafer
that any disclosure regarding Mr. X would be in violation of RPC 1.6.
|In February 1996, Schafer prepared a declaration under penalty of perjury in which he revealed client A’s 1992 statements to him. Schafer provided that declaration and other documents, many being public records he had sought out, to the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Washington Attorney General’s Office, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division, and the Washington State Bar Association Office of Disciplinary Counsel, and he met with agents from all but one of those offices. On April 26, 1996, Schafer appended his declaration containing client A’s confidences to a motion that he filed in the Court of Appeals seeking review of a Superior Court order disqualifying him from continuing to represent client C. See Estate of Barovic, 88 Wash. App. 823, 946 P.2d 1202 (1997). Schafer did not seek court assistance to protect the confidentiality of his declaration, so it became available to the public at large as a court record. Schafer then provided pages of that motion, including his declaration, to The Seattle Times, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and The News Tribune. In 1998, Schafer wrote two articles published in local weekly newspapers that revealed client’s A’s confidences concerning Anderson.||
During February 1996, Mr. Schafer prepared a document
which revealed his conversations with his client. He met with and
document and others to the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, the
Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, The Seattle
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The News Tribune and two other local
April 1996, Mr. Schafer attached documents disclosing his
to court pleadings without asking the court to protect their
| In July
1999, the Washington State Supreme Court removed Anderson
from judicial office and in May 2000 suspended his license to practice
law for two years. In re Disciplinary Proceeding Against
Wn.2d 830, 981 P.2d 426 (1999); Discipline Notice re Grant L. Anderson,
WSBA No. 4016.
The Court said, “Schafer could and should have sought to remove the corrupt judge without revealing his client’s secrets and confidences.” It expressed very little doubt that sufficient other evidence existed in the public records to make revealing client A’s confidences unnecessary. The Court said, “Schafer could and should have appropriately reported Anderson's alleged indiscretions to the tribunal or the appropriate professional authority, without revealing the confidential information of his own client to the prosecutor's office, the FBI, the IRS and the press.”
The Court found as a mitigating factor “that because of Schafer's actions, a corrupt judge was exposed and the public was served by the judge's removal from office,” and it observed that “harsh discipline under these circumstances would likely undermine the public's confidence in the legal profession.”
|In July 1999, Mr. X. was removed from judicial office. The Court found that Mr. Schafer could have made his allegations against Mr. X without revealing his client’s secrets and confidences.|
Schafer’s conduct violated RPC 1.6(a), prohibiting lawyers from
revealing a client’s secrets or confidences unless the client
Christine Gray represented the Bar Association. Shawn Newman, Donald H. Mullins and Douglas Schafer represented Mr. Schafer. Lawrence R. Mills was the hearing officer.
Mr. Schafer’s conduct violated RPC 1.6(a),
prohibiting lawyers from revealing a client’s secrets or
confidences unless the
client consents after consultation.
Christine Gray represented the Bar Association. Shawn Newman, Donald H. Mullins and Douglas Schafer represented Mr. Schafer. Lawrence R. Mills was the Hearing Officer.