The pieces of the tale I am about to tell began with an ABA JOURNAL “Daily Internet Report,” dated August 6, 2014. Having read it, I looked at the Hartford Courant for October 1, 2005, which appears to be a blog from “The Committee to Expose Dishonest and Incompetent Judges, Attorneys and Public Officials from 2012, which may have been an article in The Connecticut Law Tribune for March 22, 2010, entitled “Attorney Accused–Again–of Trading Legal Services for Sexual Favors,” and a Decision of the Statewide Grievance Committee bearing the date September 1[X], 2009 all pertaining to one Attorney Ira S. Mayo (“L”). (Two Committee Members issues a decision and one concurred in part and dissented in part, and finally a blog entitled “Fight the Power” dated March 15, 2010. Thus, the reports of facts and dates of the cases are a bit murky, and the ABA Report is very confusing.
In 2005, a 45-year-old Connecticut lawyer, Ira Mayo (“L”), was ordered not to represent women in family law cases and (civil?) domestic violence cases on the basis of his acting in improper and erotic manners toward various clients. In the 2010* case he was suspended for 15 months, required to enter appropriate therapy, and ordered not to represent women in these sorts of cases, no doubt for some specified period of time, having been accused of making unwanted advanced on, of all people, women who had been abused and referred to him by the Susan B. Anthony group for women who had been abused. When L’s misconduct occurred must have been earlier, but how much earlier is unknown to me. (*I call this the 2010 case because that date occurs in the accounts I have read although why I’m not clear.)
In the 2010 case, Mr. Mayo was accused at least of violating the ’05 order at least 11 times and of offering to waive his fees in exchange for a shirtless massage. (And there were other similar offenses at least floating around.) This time, though disciplinary counsel sought to disbar him, he was suspended for only four months but was also “barred from representing female clients for the rest of his career.” (For that bar, read “rest of his life, in other words, “forever.”)
The ABA story makes it sound like L is barred from representing any woman in any legal controversy ever. Another report makes it sound like the scope of cases in which he is forbidden from representing women is a (maybe) expanded and certainly long extended version of the order already in existence. To me, anyway, the second alternative, between those two, seems more likely, and its more moderate scope would explain why a women’s advocacy organization would be so outraged.
There was some dispute about the fact as to the nature and extent of L’s sexual misconduct (2-1), as was set forth in the Committee’s ’09 opinion. It looks like the ’09 opinion sent the case to a district judge for sanction imposition. (Maybe that’s when the judge made his decision, so that’s why some of the literature calls it the 2010 case.)
The most interesting thing about the 2010 case is that the offense the panel pays the most attention to is one in which L defended a woman in a criminal case. The panel states that it involved a domestic dispute of sorts and implied admits that the court’s earlier order prohibited L only from representing women in actual domestic abuse cases. Nevertheless, the panel found the criminal case close enough to the court’s order to treat it as violating the order. (It was also interested in statements of an 18-year-old girl who claimed that L had crudely propositioned her too.)
This 2010 “sentence” was, I conjecture, part of a plea deal, and it was hardly merely a “slap on the wrist,” as critics have asserted unless since L was no more than 50 in 2010, it seems.
Imagine trying to represent this book. Q. Insanity? A. True in some ways maybe, but probably only mentally disordered. Q. Is no real offense underlying the first order? A. Defendant Mayo reasonably believed that abused women have been raped, beaten, or something of that sort. He was only trying to be loving and provide genuine affection. Problem: Implausible and probably not provably reasonable. Q. As to the 2nd charge, there was no sex involved. He was simply offering to transform the fee into a marketable exchange, resembling a mowing of the lawn. A. Theoretically doable, but the evidence might not support the thesis, and it fails to grasp the “Empathy Problem” with which Mayo had no lawyerly connection. Citation for Guidance: Doug Linder, Senior Author, THE GOOD LAWYER (2014), (Empathy Chapter).
None of this would work anyway, because of the “Disobedience Problem.” There was a court order “Don’t do X!” and Mr. Mayo did it at least 11 times in front of the courts. Even if the theoretically clever but pragmatically bullshit defenses worked for defending or mitigating the unquestionable misconduct with his clients, who were not raped and whose money was not stolen, refusing to do as the court-ordered cannot be defended on the grounds, “Gee I didn’t realize. . . .” Aside from the Rules of Civil Procedure, and the law governing contempt the ABA Rules more-or-less address this matter. See. 8.2(a) and Preamble , , and , at least. The applicable Conn. rule is 8.4(4) which prohibits lawyers from engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. Its rule is much more obviously applicable that the Model Rule.
The whole underlying idea of this defense–something that was almost certainly considered by his lawyer–was that there was an additional encounter between L and a client in which he said she was trying to extort money from him, and he went to the policy. She denied his allegation, of course, and claimed what the other women had said. (Naturally, there are still other facts left unmentioned here.)
With regard to the “sentence” in the 2010 deal, maybe it is also required that he continue to stay involved in some sort of psychological therapy that will take his mind off his penis.
(Incidentally, a Florida court recently declined to provide a prisoner state-funded physical castration while jailed. They did not do this because he didn’t like the idea or because the state didn’t want to spend the money, which would be not much, but because he held that he did not have jurisdiction. Apparently, it has to be on the list of available penalties before a court can “order” it. Jonathan Kendall, ” Florida Judge Denies Sex Offender’s Request to Be Physically Castrated, BROWARD/PALM BEACH NEW TIMES (THE PULP) August 4, 2014, referencing the OCALA STAR BANNER, another Florida newspaper. Still, I don’t see how why to be cruel punishment, even if unusual, as some have argued even about so-called “chemical castration when the prisoner not only consents to it but asks for it. See Section 501.061 of the Texas Government Code. But see also Tanya Simpson’s Law Student Comment, “If Your Hand Causes You to Sin. . . .”*: Florida’s Chemical Castration Statute Misses the Mark, 34 FLA. L. REV. 1221 (2006). One wonders whether the Bar should consider using voluntary castration of some form as a device to deal with propensities like that of L. In Florida another time in prison what shortened by chemical plus ankle bracelets according to Simpson. Id at 1245ff.[*Mark 9:43 (King James) Is Mark the mark? Probably not.])
Side Note: “Why did the ABA publish an account of all this in August of 2014? The only reason I can think of is that the Connecticut court (or similar body) just made a decision about L. This idea seems very improbable to me.
Originally posted on 08/12/2014 @ 3:19 pm