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Thursday, April 19, 2012

NO DRINKING ORDER REVERSED!

William Sundquist, an 80 year old administrative law judge was appropriately reprimanded for violating his probation when he tested positive for alcohol after a misdemeanor case of operating a vehicle while impaired.  The Michigan Discipline Hearing panel imposed a reprimand and a condition that he attend AA meetings at least twice a week and abstain from alcohol for one year.  

Sundquist petitioned for review, arguing that the panel should be reversed and an order of no discipline was the correct resolution.  The Administrator petitioned for review as well, and asked for "a condition of two-years monitoring by the State bar of Michigan Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program (LJAP), along with a requirement of abstinence," which likely would have been for two years also. 

Despite this being his second drinking and driving related arrest (the first being in 1983), the discipline board confirmed and reversed his punishment.  They found no error in the decision to give a reprimand instead of an order imposing no discipline.  However, they stated that Sundquist had "engaged in the abuse of alcohol, but was not dependant on it."  He had attended numerous AA meetings over the years and there was no evidence that he lacked the ability to modify or stop his drinking so as to stay within the law and act professionally.  The board therefore reversed the order requiring him to abstain from alcohol for one year. 

The opinion can be found here

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