|This is an awesome picture of Arizona.|
In re: Palmisano
We’ve jumped in the wayback machine again to find an un-summarized opinion. Remember the fall of 2017? The air was crisp. The apples were plentiful. Ever had a Zestarapple? They are ridiculously delicious. Anyway, also in the fall of 2017, the Vermont Supreme Court exercised original jurisdiction as it is occasionally apt to do, and published an opinion with respect to an attorney discipline issue.
The Professional Responsibility Board handles attorney discipline. Attorneys have professional rules we have to follow. Sometimes an attorney does something (or fails to do something) as required by the rules. That issue can be brought to the board by a complaint. The board also has the ability to impose reciprocal discipline. Lawyers are a licensed profession; every state requires its own license. Suppose an attorney is licensed in State A and State B. If there’s an issue in State A that results in discipline, State B may also discipline the attorney because of that issue.
So here, there was an attorney named Joseph Palmisano. He appears to have been licensed in both Arizona and Vermont. I’m not sure if he was also licensed anywhere else; that isn’t really the topic of discussion here.
Essentially what happened was that complaints were filed against Mr. Palmisano for various ethical breaches. There appear to have been seven different counts. Their subjects range but all have to do with different ethical breaches. I suggest you take a look at the opinion; it summarizes the situation quite well. The parties came to a settlement that included a 6 month suspension of Mr. Palmisano’s Arizona law license, as well as 2 years probation. It appears in Arizona that attorney discipline is heard before a disciplinary judge. The judge accepted the 6 month suspension as a settlement, but was clear with Mr. Palmisano that his conduct was unacceptable and that when he got back to practicing law that he would need to ensure this behavior didn’t repeat.
Enter Vermont attorney discipline. Normally a reciprocal action is warranted, which is what Mr. Palmisano urged. However, here, disciplinary counsel sought a 2 year and 6 month suspension. The rationale was that it would be hard for Vermont to supervise an attorney on probation if he lives in Arizona. Also, each one of his actions rose to the level of conduct for which there could be a suspension (Mr. Palmisano stipulated to this in Arizona).
SCOV is permitted to do its own thing in these cases, and decided to split the difference. SCOV imposed a 2 year suspension. SCOV couldn’t find that there were any mitigating factors, but could find that there were some aggravating factors. In short, SCOV determined that Mr. Palmisano had to satisfactorily complete his probation conditions in Arizona and get reinstated there before he could be permitted to apply for reinstatement to practice law in Vermont.
Since this case was so old, I thought to myself, “huh, I wonder if Mr. Palmisano got reinstated?” Normally I don’t go outside the opinion to get information about the parties or the case, but since it seemed reasonable that the issue might have resolved and it might be nice if there was closure to the question, I thought I’d check it out. And the answer is no. No, he did not get reinstated.