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Court reprimands Wauwatosa lawyer

Proof and Hearsay

Crime, courts and legal issues in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin

July 10, 2012

By Bruce Vielmetti of the Journal Sentinel

July 10, 2012 0

His first run-in with the lawyer ethics police, for writing a worthless check for less than $1,000, got Reed Martin a private slap on the wrist back in 2003.

He's taking the lick  publicly this time, as the Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a reprimand for two violations related to Martin skipping a February 2008 hearing on his juvenile client's claim of ineffective assistance, and subsequent lies about being on vacation at the time.

According to the court's ruling, prosecutors became concerned about Martin's behavior and decided to reduce his client's two prior convictions to a single lesser charge. Martin came to the courthouse for a rescheduled hearing in March on the ineffective assistance claim, but upon learning of the reduced charge, never entered Circuit Judge Dennis Cimpl's courtroom to explain his prior failures to appear. Cimpl filed a complaint with the Office of Lawyer Regulation.

Martin (Wisconsin, '95) later wrote to the OLR that he missed the original hearing because his family left for a vacation the night before. But records later showed that he had purchased gasoline in Wauwatosa on the day of the hearing.

Martin pleaded no contest to two violations of professional misconduct, but argued for a second private reprimand, since he had faxed the court the night before the original hearing, saying he was going on vacation, and offering several  other dates to reschedule the hearing. He also said he had simply been mistaken when he first told the OLR that he had left town the night before the hearing.

The court also ordered Martin to pay the $2,617.78 cost of the OLR discipline proceeding.

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson wrote separately, to say she would impose "a more stringent sanction."

Bruce Vielmetti thumbnail
About Bruce Vielmetti

Bruce Vielmetti writes about legal affairs.

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