BEFORE THE DISCIPLINARY BOARD
WASHINGTON STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
In re ) Public No. 00#00031
DOUGLAS A. SCHAFER, )
) FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS
Lawyer ) OF LAW, AND HEARING OFFICER'S
Bar No. 8652 )
Pursuant to Rule 4.10 of the Rules for Lawyer Discipline ("RLD"), a disciplinary hearing was held before the undersigned Hearing Officer from July 17, 2000, through July 24, 2000, and post-hearing briefing was completed on August 2, 2000, at which time the hearing was closed. Respondent Douglas A. Schafer ("Schafer") appeared at the hearing representing himself; Schafer was also represented by counsel Shawn Timothy Newman and Donald H. Mullins. Disciplinary Counsel Christine Gray appeared for the Washington State Bar Association ("WSBA").
I. FORMAL COMPLAINT
The Formal Complaint filed May 26, 1999, as amended by the Hearing Officer's Order dated January 24, 2000, charged Schafer with the following count of misconduct:
[end of page 1]Based upon the pleadings in this case, and the testimony, documentary evidence, and exhibits admitted at the disciplinary hearing, the Hearing Officer makes the following Findings of Fact:Respondent's conduct on one or more occasions in revealing confidences and/or secrets relating to his representation of Mr. [William L.] Hamilton violated RPC 1.6(a) and subjects him to discipline pursuant to RLD 1.1(i). Said conduct also violated Respondent's oath as a lawyer, in violation of RLD 1.1(c).
II. FINDINGS OF FACT
The following facts were proven by a clear preponderance of the evidence:
1. Schafer was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Washington on October 27, 1978.
2. Schafer has no prior disciplinary record.
3. At all material times, Schafer practiced law in Pierce County, Washington.
4. From the early 1980s through 1992, Schafer represented William L. Hamilton ("Hamilton") in a variety of business and personal matters.
5. On August 12, 1992, Hamilton telephoned Schafer and informed Schafer that Hamilton wanted to form a corporation to purchase the Pacific Lanes bowling alley from the Estate of Charles C. Hoffman ("the Hoffman estate").
6. Hamilton and Schafer had a meeting on August 17, 1992, to discuss the formation of the corporation.
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7. During the August 12, 1992 telephone call or the August 17, 1992 meeting, Hamilton told Schafer that lawyer Grant L. Anderson ("Anderson") was the personal representative and attorney for the Hoffman estate; that Anderson had been "milking" the estate for four years; that Anderson was about to become a judge; that Anderson was selling the bowling alley quickly so he could close the estate before he assumed the bench; that there was no time for an appraisal of the bowling alley; that Anderson was giving Hamilton a good deal on the bowling alley; and that Hamilton would repay Anderson "down the road."
8. In response to Hamilton's statements, Schafer told Hamilton that he did not want to hear about it.
9. In August 1992, Schafer researched the availability of the corporation name, prepared the initial corporate documents, and filed the necessary documents with the Secretary of State to form a corporation named Pacific Recreation Enterprises, Inc. ("PRE"), of which Hamilton was the sole initial shareholder. Hamilton paid Schafer approximately $300 in attorney's fees for Schafer's services.
10. In 1992, Schafer did not give Hamilton any advice about the purchase of the bowling alley or make any further inquiries about the transaction.
11. In January 1993, Anderson was sworn in as a Pierce County Superior Court judge.
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12. In July 1995, nearly three years after Schafer formed PRE for Hamilton, Schafer was retained to represent Donald Barovic regarding an estate matter pending in the Pierce County Superior Court before Judge Anderson.
13. Between July and December of 1995, as a result of Judge Anderson's rulings in the Barovic case, Schafer came to doubt Judge Anderson's competence as a judge. Schafer recalled Hamilton's statements about Anderson in August 1992 and reviewed his office file for Hamilton and the court file for the Hoffman estate.
14. Immediately following a hearing in the Barovic case on December 15, 1995, Schafer checked out the court file in Hoffman estate, Pierce County Superior Court Cause Number 89-4-00326-3, copied it, and began calling the attorneys named in the file.
15. On December 15, 1995, Schafer called Hamilton to set up a meeting so that Schafer could ask Hamilton about Hamilton's August 1992 statements concerning Anderson. Hamilton agreed to meet with Schafer on Monday, December 18, 1995.
16. During their December 18, 1995 meeting, Schafer told Hamilton that Schafer had a case pending before Judge Anderson and wanted to know whether Judge Anderson had "stellar" integrity. Hamilton responded by saying that Anderson was as honest as most any lawyer. At the end of the nearly three-hour meeting, Hamilton told Schafer to stop "looking for dirt" on Judge Anderson, and
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urged Schafer to run against Anderson in the next election if Schafer felt Anderson was a poor judge.
17. Within days of the December 18, 1995 meeting, Schafer contacted an officer of Sound Banking Company to inquire whether Anderson had received any stock in Sound Banking Company from Hamilton.
18. On or about December 21, 1995, Hamilton telephoned Schafer, expressed anger that Schafer had inquired about Anderson's stock in Sound Banking Company, and instructed Schafer to drop Schafer's investigation into Anderson's activities.
19. From December 15, 1995, through January 31, 1996, Schafer obtained considerable information from public records and contacted numerous persons to investigate Anderson's handling of the Hoffman estate.
20. On February 1, 1996, Schafer contacted Camden Hall ("Hall"), the attorney who represented Diane Anderson in the dissolution of her marriage to Anderson. Schafer informed Hall that Schafer was investigating Anderson's handling of the Hoffman estate and that he had found apparent misconduct by Anderson regarding the sale of Pacific Lanes to Hamilton. Hall suggested that Schafer check into Anderson's acquisition of a Cadillac.
21. On February 1, 1996, Hamilton transmitted a letter to Schafer by facsimile. In the letter Hamilton terminated his client-attorney relationship with
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Schafer and stressed that Schafer had "no authority to disclose any privileged information, relating to your prior representation of me . . . " (Ex. A-3)
22. In response to Hamilton's February 1, 1996 letter, Schafer telephoned Hamilton to arrange a meeting.
23. On February 1, 1996, Schafer met with Hamilton and Philip R. Sloan ("Sloan"), a lawyer representing Hamilton, in Sloan's office. During the meeting, Sloan instructed Schafer that Schafer was not to disclose any confidential communications between Hamilton and Schafer and threatened to file a Bar complaint against Schafer if Schafer failed to protect Hamilton's confidential information. Schafer believes that Sloan also threatened to sue him.
24. On February 2, 1996, Schafer received a facsimile from Sloan that instructed Schafer "not to disclose any communications re Grant Anderson to anyone. If you do - you will be in violation of RPC 1.6 . . ." (Ex. A-4)
25. On February 2, 1996, Schafer filed a Motion of Prejudice and Supporting Statement in the Barovic case. (Ex. A-5). In the motion, Schafer included the following statement:[end of page 6]In addition, I personally have been making inquiries into the handling by Judge Grant L. Anderson, during the almost four years, and particularly the last few months, before he became a judge, of the Estate of Charles C. Hoffman, (Cause No. 89-4-00326-3). Based upon the public documents that I have reviewed and the individuals with whom I have spoken, I believe that a full investigation into his and his firm's handling of that estate is necessary.
(Ex. A-5, p. 2-3) In the motion filed on February 2, 1996, Schafer did not name Hamilton or disclose the contents of Hamilton's 1992 confidential communications to Schafer.
26. Shortly after the Motion of Prejudice was filed, Judge Anderson recused himself in the Barovic case.
27. On or about February 5, 1996, Schafer met with Professor John Strait of the then University of Puget Sound Law School in Tacoma. Schafer showed Professor Strait the information Schafer had obtained regarding Judge Anderson. Professor Strait advised Schafer that RPC 1.6 prohibited disclosure of a client's confidences or secrets without the client's consent, except to prevent the client from committing a crime. Professor Strait informed Schafer that the description of Judge Anderson's and Hamilton's conduct sounded like a past event; however, Professor Strait told Schafer that the question of whether fraud is a "continuing crime" is a gray area in the law. Schafer told Professor Strait that Schafer intended to reveal Hamilton's confidential communications to the authorities in order to expose a corrupt judge. Professor Strait also advised Schafer that he believed Schafer would not have civil liability if he disclosed information to the Bar Association.
28. On February 6, 1996, Schafer met with John W. Ladenburg ("Ladenburg"), the then Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney, regarding information Schafer had obtained regarding Judge Anderson and a possible
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linkage between Anderson, Anderson's Cadillac, and Hamilton's purchase of the bowling alley. Ladenburg informed Schafer of where judges park their cars.
29. On February 6, 1996, Schafer spoke with an employee of the Department of Licensing ("DOL") to inquire about obtaining records regarding Anderson's Cadillac. The DOL employee informed Schafer that if he submitted a written request, the DOL would likely honor the request because Schafer was a lawyer. The same day, Schafer hand-carried a letter to the DOL. The letter stated, in pertinent part:(Ex. A-6)After being elected, but before taking office, Anderson sold a business that was an asset of the probate estate to a friend of his, William L. Hamilton. Based on information that I have received, I believe that Hamilton may have transferred to Anderson either the Cadillac or the funds to purchase it.
30. On or about February 8, 1996, Schafer contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"). Schafer's purpose in contacting the FBI was to trigger an investigation into Anderson's handling of the Hoffman estate.
31. On or about February 9, 1996, Schafer received a telephone call from Frank Clark of the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office informing Schafer that the Prosecutor's office was beginning an investigation of Schafer's allegations against Anderson.
32. On February 13, 1996, Schafer met for nearly seven hours with Sally Carter-DuBois ("Carter-Dubois"), an investigator for the Washington Commission
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on Judicial Conduct ("CJC"). Schafer provided Carter-DuBois with a collection of documents and discussed Schafer's allegations against Anderson. Carter-DuBois made comments indicating that she took Schafer's allegations seriously (for example, rating the seriousness of the matter as a "13" on a 1 to 10 scale). The CJC made several of copies of the documents provided by Schafer and returned the copies to Schafer so that he could provide the same documents to other agencies.
33. Schafer prepared a five-page document dated February 16, 1996, entitled Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury. (Ex. A-7) The Declaration stated, in pertinent part:On August 12, 1992, I was called by my client, William L. Hamilton, who I previously had advised in several matters including the formation in 1990 of Sound Banking Company (of which he was President/CEO, as he had been at Western Community Bank for about 25 years before its sale), and he requested that I form a new corporation for him immediately. He said that an attorney he knew, Grant Anderson, had been "milking" an estate for four years and was about to become a judge, so he needed to quickly sell the estate's business, Pacific Lanes, in order to close the estate before he took the bench. Hamilton said that he had agreed to buy the business. It was either in that phone conversation or when we met on August 17, 1992, that Hamilton commented that there was no time for an appraisal of the business, that Anderson was giving him a good deal, and that Hamilton would repay him "down the road" by paying him as corporate secretary or something like that. When I heard that comment, I told Hamilton, "I don't even want to hear about it!" I formed his corporation, Pacific Recreation Enterprises, Inc., and had no further involvement with him concerning the purchase of Pacific Lanes. My notes from those conversations and papers Hamilton gave me when we met reflect that the estate was that of Chuck Hoffman.(Ex. A-7, p. 1)
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Schafer also prepared a six-page memorandum dated February 29, 1996, to "Appropriate Public Officials", to be provided with his February 16, 1996 Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury and certain files and documents. (Ex. A-8)
34. On February 29, 1996, and thereafter, Schafer believed that Grant Anderson had committed acts of misconduct as a lawyer, a fiduciary and a judge. (Stipulation filed November 29, 1999, Ex. A-11)
35. On March 1, 1996, Schafer sent a letter to David Walsh of the Washington Attorney General's Office enclosing Schafer's February 29, 1996 memorandum and February 16, 1996 Declaration.
36. In early March 1996, Schafer sent his February 29, 1996 memorandum and his February 16, 1996 Declaration to the WSBA, along with a box of documents (Ex. A-14) obtained during the course of Schafer's investigation into Anderson's conduct in handling the Hoffman estate.
37. In February or March 1996, Schafer also sent his February 29, 1996 memorandum and his February 16, 1996 Declaration to the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"), Criminal Investigation Division.
38. Schafer's overriding and central purpose in contacting the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, the FBI, the CJC, the Washington Attorney General's Office, the WSBA, and the IRS was to expose Anderson as corrupt and to have him removed from the bench. Schafer provided much information obtained from public records. In disclosing information to these governmental or
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disciplinary agencies, Schafer did not attempt to withhold information told to Schafer by Hamilton in 1992.
39. On April 26, 1996, Schafer filed with the Washington Court of Appeals, Division II, a Motion for Discretionary Review in the Barovic case. The motion challenged a March 1996 order of Judge Donald H. Thompson disqualifying Schafer from representing his client in the Barovic case. Schafer appended to the Motion certain documents including his February 29, 1996 memorandum and his February 16, 1996 Declaration. (Ex. A-10) Schafer's purposes in filing the Motion were (1) to personally vindicate himself and (2) to expose Anderson as a corrupt judge.
40. On April 26, 1996, Schafer provided his February 29, 1996 memorandum and his February 16, 1996 Declaration to the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and the Tacoma News Tribune daily newspapers. (Ex. A-12)
41. Schafer intentionally disseminated information about Judge Anderson, including Hamilton's confidential communications to Schafer contained in Schafer's February 16, 1996 Declaration, to the news media because it was an election year and Schafer was hoping to prevent Anderson from being reelected as judge in an uncontested election.
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42. On July 26, 1996, Hamilton filed with the WSBA a Grievance Against a Lawyer relating to Schafer's unauthorized disclosure of Hamilton's confidential information communicated to Schafer as Hamilton's attorney. (Ex. D-36)
43. On July 29, 1999, the Supreme Court of Washington issued a decision in In re Discipline of Anderson, 138 Wn.2d 830 (1999), in which the Court found acts of misconduct by Anderson and removed Anderson from his judicial office. The facts set forth in the Supreme Court's opinion are uncontested for purposes of this disciplinary hearing. (Stipulation filed November 29, 1999, Ex. A-11)
44. By Order dated May 4, 2000, the Supreme Court of Washington approved a Stipulation to Discipline under which Anderson is suspended from the practice of law for two years. (Ex. D-32)
Based on the foregoing Findings of Fact, the Hearing Officer makes the following Conclusions of Law:
III. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. Schafer is charged with revealing confidences or secrets relating to the representation of Hamilton in violation of the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct adopted by the Washington Supreme Court to regulate the conduct of attorneys practicing law in the State of Washington.
2. A fundamental principle in the client-lawyer relationship is that, in the absence of the client's informed consent, a lawyer must not reveal information relating to the representation absent an express exception in the Rules of
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Professional Conduct. The confidentiality of client communications to a lawyer contributes to the trust that is the hallmark of the client-lawyer relationship. The client is thereby encouraged to seek legal assistance and to communicate fully and frankly with the lawyer even as to embarrassing or legally damaging subject matter. The lawyer needs this information to represent the client effectively and, if necessary, to advise the client to refrain from wrongful conduct. See Comment 2 to Proposed Model Rule 1.6-Public Discussion Draft promulgated by the Ethics 2000 Commission on the Evaluation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
3. Schafer is charged with violating Rule 1.6 of the Rules of Professional Conduct which provides as follows:[end of page 13](a) A lawyer shall not reveal confidences or secrets relating to representation of a client unless the client consents after consultation, except for disclosures that are impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation, and except as stated in sections (b) and (c).
(b) A lawyer may reveal such confidences or secrets to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary:
(1) To prevent the client from committing a crime; or
(2) To establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer in a
controversy between the lawyer and the client, to establish a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim against the lawyer based upon conduct in which the client was involved, to respond to allegations in any proceeding concerning the lawyer's representation of the client, or pursuant to court order.4. At the time of the disclosures at issue herein, Hamilton was a former client of Schafer. Nonetheless, Schafer owed the same duty of confidentiality to Hamilton, as a former client, pursuant to Rule 1.9 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, which provides, in pertinent part:(c) A lawyer may reveal to the tribunal confidences or secrets which disclose any breach of fiduciary responsibility by a client who is a guardian, personal representative, receiver, or other court appointed fiduciary.A lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter:5. Schafer contends that his responsibility to expose corrupt transactions
. . .
(b) Use confidences or secrets relating to the representation to the disadvantage of the former client, except as rule 1.6 would permit.
involving Anderson, as a lawyer, a fiduciary, and a judge, overrides his obligation to keep client information confidential. This contention is addressed in Rule 8.3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct which provides as follows:[end of page 14](a) A lawyer having knowledge that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, should promptly inform the appropriate professional authority.
(b) A lawyer having knowledge that a judge has committed a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct that raises a substantial question as to the judge's fitness for office should promptly inform the appropriate authority.
(c) This rule does not require disclosure of information otherwise protected by rule 1.6.
Rule 8.3 encourages a lawyer to inform the appropriate authority if there is a substantial question as to the fitness of a lawyer or a judge, but does not require disclosure of information received from a client that is otherwise protected by the confidentiality provisions of Rule 1.6 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
6. Hamilton's communications to Schafer in August 1992 constituted "confidences or secrets relating to representation" of Hamilton. Hamilton's statements to Schafer were made in the context of an client-attorney relationship.
7. Hamilton did not consent to Schafer's disclosure to others of Hamilton's August 1992 communications to Schafer and, in fact, Hamilton specifically instructed Schafer in writing not to reveal Hamilton's August 1992 communications.
8. Schafer argues that he was permitted to reveal Hamilton's August 1992 communications pursuant to RPC 1.6(c). RPC 1.6(c) is not applicable because Hamilton, the client, was not a "guardian, personal representative, receiver, or other court-appointed fiduciary." Moreover, RPC 1.6(c) applies solely to disclosures to "the tribunal", that is the court to which the fiduciary is responsible, and Schafer's disclosures were to many governmental agencies and the media, not just the court.
9. Schafer also argues that his disclosures of Hamilton's August 1992 communications were permitted by Rule 1.6(b)(1), which provides "a lawyer may
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reveal such confidences or secrets to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary:
(1) To prevent the client from committing a crime . . . ."
This exception allows a lawyer to disclose a confidence or secret to prevent a future crime by a client and does not permit a lawyer to disclose matters related to a past crime by a client. The evidence does not support Schafer's assertion that his disclosures of confidences or secrets obtained from Hamilton in August of 1992 were made by Schafer in 1996 to prevent Hamilton from committing a future crime. In fact, at the time of Schafer's disclosures, Schafer had completed the formation of the corporation for Hamilton, the Pacific Lanes bowling alley purchase had been completed, and the events discussed by Hamilton with Schafer in 1992 had already occurred.
10. Even assuming that Hamilton's dealings with Anderson were continuing in 1996 and that there was arguably a continuing crime or fraud on the part of Hamilton in progress at that time, RPC 1.6(b) allows a lawyer to reveal client confidences or secrets only "to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary." Schafer's disclosures of Hamilton's confidences or secrets to multiple governmental agencies, the media, and to persons outside the government was not reasonably necessary to prevent Hamilton from committing a crime.
11. Schafer should be commended for his extraordinary efforts and careful, meticulous research in the public records to "connect the dots" and "put
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the puzzle pieces together" to expose the "pattern of dishonest behavior" described in In re Discipline of Anderson, 138 Wn.2d 830 (1999), that resulted in Anderson's removal from judicial office and ultimately Anderson's stipulation to a two-year suspension of his license to practice law in the State of Washington.
12. The information and documents obtained by Schafer from the public records would have been more than sufficient to allow Schafer to carry out his primary objective of seeing that a corrupt judge was removed from the bench, without the disclosure of confidences and secrets communicated by Hamilton to Schafer in a client-attorney relationship. In his zeal to expose corruption by Anderson, Schafer disregarded his duty to maintain the confidences and secrets of his client Hamilton.
13. Schafer's defenses, including a lawyer's moral duty to report judicial corruption; an alleged judicially-created crime-fraud exception to attorney-client confidentiality; a lawyer's moral duty to rectify or mitigate fraud; a lawyer's duty to report misconduct by a court-appointed fiduciary; whistleblower protection policies; characterization of information from Hamilton as not being a confidence or secret; and advice of counsel, are not supported by the facts or the applicable law.
14. The WSBA has proven by a clear preponderance of the evidence that Schafer's conduct on one or more occasions in revealing confidences and/or secrets relating to his representation of Hamilton violated RPC 1.6(a) and subjects Schafer to discipline pursuant to RLD 1.1(i). Such conduct also violated Schafer's
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oath as a lawyer, in violation of RLC 1.1(c). With respect to this conduct, Schafer acted knowingly.
IV. APPLICATION OF AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION STANDARDS
1. Disciplinary sanctions are determined using the American Bar Association Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions ("ABA Standards") as a framework. In Re Johnson, 114. Wn.2d 737 (1990). The ABA Standards provide that the following factors are to be considered in determining the appropriate disciplinary sanction:ABA Standard 3.0. Assessment of the duty owed in light of the lawyer's mental state and the injury or potential injury yields a presumptive sanction. Once the presumptive sanction is determined, aggravating or mitigating factors are considered.(a) the duty violated;
(b) the lawyer's mental state;
(c) the potential or actual injury caused by the lawyer's misconduct; and
(d) the existence of aggravating or mitigating factors.
2. Based upon the foregoing Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, the following ABA Standard for Failure to Preserve the Client's Confidences is applicable in this case:[end of page 18]4.22 Suspension is generally appropriate when a lawyer knowingly reveals information relating to the representation of a client not otherwise lawfully permitted to be disclosed, and this disclosure causes injury or potential injury to a client.
The ABA Standards define "knowledge" as "the conscious awareness of the nature or attendant circumstances of the conduct but without the conscious objective or purpose to accomplish a particular result." During the period from February through April of 1996, Schafer acted knowingly in revealing client confidences and secrets communicated to Schafer by Hamilton in 1992.
3. Schafer's disclosure caused injury or potential injury to Hamilton by harming Hamilton's reputation, triggering a criminal investigation of Hamilton's purchase of the Pacific Lanes bowling alley, and causing Hamilton to incur costs and attorneys' fees in defending himself. Hamilton has never been charged with or convicted of a crime.
4. Suspension involves the removal of a lawyer from the practice of law for a specified minimum period of time, and generally should last for a period of time not less than six months and not greater than three years. In re Discipline o f Boelter, 139 Wn.2d 81, 101 (1999), citing In re Discipline of McMullen, 127 Wn.2d 150 (1995) and ABA Standard 2.3.
V. AGGRAVATING AND MITIGATING FACTORS
1. The following aggravating factors contained in Section 9.22 of the ABA Standards are applicable in this case:
(b) Dishonest or Selfish Motive: Schafer's motive was not dishonest but was partially selfish. In addition to Schafer's primary motive of
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exposing judicial corruption, Schafer was also motivated by personal vindication in disclosing Hamilton's confidences and secrets in the April 26, 1996 Motion for Discretionary Review in the Barovic case and in faxing his February 16, 1996 Declaration to three daily newspapers.
(c) A Pattern of Misconduct: Schafer made multiple disclosures of Hamilton's confidences and secrets during the period from February to April of 1996 to government and disciplinary agencies and newspapers.
(g) Refusal to Acknowledge Wrongful Nature of Conduct: Schafer continues to state that his quest to remove a corrupt judge has the highest priority and "trumps" his duty to maintain client confidences. Although there is continuing debate within the legal profession regarding the limited circumstances under which a lawyer may reveal confidential information obtained from a client, under the existing Rules of Professional Conduct in the state of Washington, a lawyer should seek to remove a corrupt judge without violating the lawyer's duty to preserve his client's confidences. Schafer does not acknowledge that he should have taken steps to protect his former client's confidences or that his primary objective most likely could have been achieved without violating his duties to Hamilton.
(i) Substantial Experience in the Practice of Law: Schafer was admitted to the practice law in the State of Washington on October 27, 1978, and has continuously engaged in the practice of law since that time.
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2. The following mitigating factors contained in Section 9.32 of the ABA Standards are applicable in this case:
(a) Absence of a Prior Disciplinary Record: Schafer has never before been sanctioned by the WSBA.
Based upon the applicable ABA Standards and the aggravating and mitigating factors, the Hearing Officer recommends that respondent Douglas A. Schafer be suspended from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months.
The Hearing Officer further recommends that Schafer be required to pay all costs and expenses associated with these proceedings pursuant to RLD 5.7, in an amount to be determined.
DATED this 18th day of August, 2000.[Notary's acknowledgment omitted.]/s/
Lawrence R. Mills