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Thursday, July 12, 2012

SUSPENDED ATTORNEY SUSPENDED AGAIN, THIS TIME FOR GHOSTWRITING

Minnesota attorney Vincent Grigsby found an interesting way to help a client during an appeal despite being suspended for 60 days - ghostwrite. 

After being suspended for 60 days for unrelated conduct, Grigsby was unable to find another attorney to write an appellate brief for a client.  So, Grigsby wrote the brief himself, didn't charge the client, and signed the client's name to the "pro se" brief.  He then filed it and forwarded a copy of it with an explanatory note to the client. 

Grigsby argued that he had done nothing wrong, and that the rules required him to do what was necessary to protect his ex-client's interests in this emergency situation.  The Minnesota Supreme Court disagreed with this, and stated he had violated the rules by drafting the brief while suspended, signing his ex-client's name and falsely stating that the the ex-client was "pro se."  The Court stated that Grigsby had other options available in this situation, such as seeking an extension of time from the appeals court or getting an advisory ethics opinion about what to do.  However, the Court only imposed an additional 60 day suspension on Grigsby, not the nine months recommended, due to the fact that Grigsby had not applied for reinstatement during this lengthy ethics investigation. 

The ghostwritten document was discovered by an assistance county attorney assigned to defend the conviction.  Grigsby actions appear to be have been worth it for his ex-client though, as the ex-client won a reversal of his conviction. 

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