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Internal Rules - Review Panel

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RULES OF CONDUCT AND PROCEDURE OF THE REVIEW PANEL STATE DISCIPLINARY BOARD

Pursuant to the powers and duties accorded it in Rule 4-203 (b) (3) in Part IV of the Rules and Regulations of the State Bar of Georgia, the Review Panel of the State Disciplinary Board of the State Bar of Georgia establishes the following Rules of Conduct and Procedure. (As amended March 30, 2012.)

Rule 1. Oaths of Office.

Members of the Review Panel of the State Disciplinary Board shall, upon their selection, be furnished by the Office of General Counsel with the oath of office required of them, shall immediately sign the oath furnished to them, and shall return the signed oath of office to the Clerk of the State Disciplinary Board who will preserve the oaths in the records of the State Bar of Georgia at State Bar Headquarters.

Rule 2. Powers and Duties.

The Review Panel shall have such powers and perform such duties as are set forth in Part IV of the Rules and Regulations for the Organization and Government of the State Bar of Georgia as approved by the Supreme Court of the State of Georgia on November 30, 1976, and subsequently amended. The said rules are hereinafter referred to as the "Bar Rules."

Rule 3. Meetings.

The Review Panel shall meet at such times and places as may be set by the Panel. The Review Panel shall also meet at other times on the call of the chairperson of the Review Panel or of the president-elect of the State Bar of Georgia.

Rule 4. Election of Offices; Powers and Duties.

At its first meeting subsequent to the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Georgia, the membership of the Review Panel shall elect a chairperson and a vice-chairperson. The chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the Review Panel and shall serve until a successor is elected or the chairperson's term on the Review Panel expires.

The chairperson shall also exercise such powers and assume such duties as are hereinafter provided. In case of the absence, disqualification or incapacity of the chairperson, the vice-chairperson shall assume the duties and powers of the chairperson. In case of a disqualification of both the chairperson and vice-chairperson, the president-elect of the State Bar of Georgia shall designate another member of the Board to preside over the Panel's consideration of the matter at issue.

Rule 5.

This rule is reserved.

Rule 6. Original Pleadings.

Original pleadings shall be filed with the Clerk of the State Disciplinary Board at the headquarters of the State Bar of Georgia. Bar Counsel and the respondent lawyer shall be responsible for serving copies of all pleadings on the special master and all parties to the disciplinary proceeding. The original pleadings shall be maintained at the headquarters of the State Bar of Georgia by the Clerk of the State Disciplinary Board until the Clerk files the record in the case with the Supreme Court pursuant to Bar Rule 4-217(c) or 4-218(f).

Rule 7. Review of the Report of the Special Master.

(a) If a party requests review by the Review Panel pursuant to Rule 4-217(d), the Clerk of the State Disciplinary Board or a designee of the Clerk shall cause copies of the report of special master and the complete record in the case to be delivered to the chairperson of the Panel and the Panel member designated to review the case. The Clerk or a designee of the Clerk shall deliver an abbreviated copy of the record (including the formal complaint, answer, and report of the special master) to all other members of the Review Panel at least thirty (30) days prior to the next scheduled meeting. The Clerk shall deliver portions of the record to any other Panel member upon request by that Panel member. At its next meeting, the Review Panel shall review the record and report of the special master. Pursuant to Rule 4-218(a), the Review Panel shall consider the record and the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the special master.

(b) At the time the report of the Special Master and the record in the case are transmitted to the Panel members, the Office of General Counsel shall notify the Respondent in writing of his or her rights under Bar Rule 4-218. Specifically, the Respondent shall be advised of his or her right to challenge the competency, qualifications, or objectivity of any Panel member and shall be provided the names and addresses of all Panel members.

(c) The Review Panel may grant rehearings or new trials either before itself or before a special master on such issues and within such times as appear to it appropriate to serve the ends of justice. A majority vote of those members present shall be sufficient to order a rehearing or new trial except that there may be no de novo hearing before the Review Panel without its unanimous vote with the consent of the respondent lawyer.

(d) The Review Panel may consider exceptions to the report of the special master. Exceptions and briefs shall be filed with the Clerk of the State Disciplinary Board within thirty (30) days of the filing of the Special Master's report in accordance with Bar Rule 4-217(d). The responding party shall have ten (10) days after service of the exceptions within which to respond.

(e) The Review Panel may in its discretion grant oral argument. Either party may request oral argument by filing such request with the Clerk of the State Disciplinary Board at least twenty (20) days prior to the date of the meeting of the Panel at which the case will be considered. A subcommittee consisting of the chairperson, vice-chairperson and the reviewing Panel member shall review the request and shall decide the issue at least ten (10) days prior to the meeting of the Panel at which the case will be considered, and shall notify the parties of the subcommittee's decision. Any decision denying oral argument shall be subject to review by the entire Review Panel.

Rule 8. Report to the Supreme Court and Recommendation of Discipline.

After the completion of its review of the final report of the special master or review of a Notice of Reciprocal Discipline, the Review Panel shall prepare its report to the Supreme Court. The Review Panel's report shall contain the Panel's findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation of discipline, if any. The Review Panel may delegate responsibility for the preparation of its report to any member of the Panel or to either party.

The chairperson of the Review Panel shall file the report of the Review Panel with the Clerk of the State Disciplinary Board and serve a copy of the report on the parties to the disciplinary proceeding. The Clerk shall file the report and the complete record with the Supreme Court pursuant to Bar Rule 4-218(f).

Rule 9. Notice of Punishment.

Upon a final judgment by the Supreme Court of Georgia of disbarment, suspension or acceptance of a petition for voluntary surrender of license for disciplinary reasons, the Office of General Counsel shall cause notice of the action to be given to the clerks of all courts of record in the State of Georgia. The said notice shall direct that the name of the respondent lawyer be stricken from the rolls of the court and from the State Bar of Georgia either permanently in the case of disbarment or voluntary surrender of license or for a prescribed period in the case of suspension.

Rule 10. Preparation of Reprimands.

(a) Upon final judgment of reprimand, either public or Review Panel, by the State Supreme Court, the chairperson shall cause to be prepared a written reprimand. The chairperson may delegate responsibility for preparing written reprimands to the Office of General Counsel or any Panel member, but such written reprimand shall be reviewed and approved by the chairperson prior to administration to the respondent lawyer.

(b) In the case of public reprimands, the chairperson shall forward the written reprimand through the Office of General Counsel to the chief judge of the superior court in the county where the reprimand is to be administered in accordance with State Bar Rule 4-220(c).

(c) In the case of Review Panel reprimands, the chairperson or his/her designee shall administer the reprimand at a subsequent meeting of the Review Panel. The chairperson shall be authorized to compel the attendance of the respondent lawyer by subpoena.

Rule 11.

This rule is reserved.
 
Rule 12. Expedited Treatment for Certain Cases.

This rule is reserved.

Rule 13. Contempt Procedure.

Whenever any person subpoenaed to appear and give testimony or to produce books, papers, or documents required by such subpoena shall refuse to appear before the Review Panel, or any member thereof, or to answer any pertinent or proper question, or whenever any person shall wilfully and flagrantly violate a lawful directive of any member of the Review Panel, then such person shall be deemed in contempt of the Review Panel and it shall be the duty of the chairperson to report the fact to the superior court in and for the county in which the said investigation is being held; and thereupon, the said court shall issue an attachment in a usable form in said superior court directed to the sheriff of said county commanding him or her to attach such person and forthwith bring him or her before such court. On the return of said attachment and the production of the person attached, the superior court shall have jurisdiction of the matter and the person may purge him or herself of the contempt in the same way and the same proceedings shall be had and penalties may be imposed and the same punishment inflicted as in the case of a witness subpoenaed to appear and give evidence on the trial of a civil cause before any superior court under the existing laws of the State of Georgia.

Rule 14. Challenges to the Competency, Qualifications or Objectivity of Review Panel.

(a) A respondent lawyer shall have the right to challenge the competency, qualifications or objectivity of any member of the Review Panel considering the complaint against him or her. Within ten (10) days after the Special Master's report or a Notice of Reciprocal Discipline is transmitted to the Review Panel, the respondent lawyer may file written objection to the competency, qualifications or objectivity of any member or members of the Review Panel setting forth the factual basis for the challenge. The respondent lawyer shall serve a copy of the challenge on each member of the Review Panel and on the Office of the General Counsel.
 
The challenged member shall have the right to answer the respondent lawyer's challenge in writing at his or her option. Any such answer shall be served on the remaining members of the Review Panel, the respondent lawyer and the Office of the General Counsel.

At its next meeting, the Review Panel shall excuse the challenged member from the meeting room and consider the challenge. The affirmative vote of three (3) members that the challenged member should be excluded shall be sufficient to sustain the challenge.

(b) Any member of the Review Panel shall have the right to withdraw voluntarily from consideration of any complaint in which his or her competency, qualifications or objectivity are challenged by the respondent lawyer.

Rule 15. Publication.

The Office of the General Counsel shall publish in one issue of an official publication of the State Bar of Georgia the names of persons against whom orders of disbarment, suspension or public reprimand have become final.

Rule 16. Standards for Approval of Specialization Programs.

This rule is reserved.

Rule 17. Removal of Panel Members.

Any Review Panel member who is absent from either three (3) consecutive Review Panel meetings or any four (4) meetings in a calendar year, shall be removed from the Review Panel. The vacancy shall be filled by appointment of the current President of the State Bar of Georgia.

Rule 18. Disqualification.

No member of the Review Panel of the State Disciplinary Board shall represent a respondent in any phase of an attorney disciplinary proceeding. If a Panel member's partners or associates represent a respondent in any phase of an attorney disciplinary proceeding, then the Panel member is automatically recused from determination, investigation, or review regarding the case during all phases of the disciplinary proceeding.

Rule  19. Petitions for Reinstatement.

A Petition for Reinstatement shall be filed with the Clerk of the State Disciplinary Board in accordance with Bar Rule 4-221(f). The Office of General Counsel shall have twenty (20) days after service of the Petition to respond. When all responses and reports have been filed, the record shall be delivered to the Review Panel by the Clerk of the State Disciplinary Board not less than twenty (20) days prior to the next meeting of the Review Panel.



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