Another conservative attorney targeted by State Bar’s disciplinary judge O’Neil


A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona
Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Heath Dooley sends letter to state legislature about unethical behavior of Judge O’Neil, and State Bar targeting him
Number of attorneys coming forward to state legislature about State Bar and its disciplinary judge targeting attorneys is increasing

Dear Rep. Goodale and Rep.

Allen:
Arizona House of Representatives
I am an attorney who has been victimized by the State Bar of Arizona and Judge William J. O’Neil.  I am fully in support of your bill to eliminate the State Bar of Arizona, as I believe that they are pursuing a liberal agenda and targeting attorneys for discipline because of their conservative leanings.  It was well-known that I had been a high-profile conservative attorney-activist when I was practicing law in Arizona, and political campaign volunteer and internet blogger for the 2012 Mitt Romney Presidential Campaign, and this information was brought to the attention of the State Bar of Arizona and Judge William O’Neil prior to, and during the course of my reinstatement application, and I believe this information was held against me.
I am an Arizona attorney who was originally disciplined and agreed to a six-month suspension via consent decree in June 2006.  The hearing officer and Supreme Court of Arizona in my underlying case specifically found that there was “no evidence of a dishonest or selfish motive,” and I had “practiced law for twelve years with no prior disciplinary history.”  Although I acknowledge my failings and feel remorse for my shortcomings which led to my underlying discipline, there was nothing dishonest about my underlying disciplinary history, I was simply going through some severe marital problems which contributed to my not handling my case load appropriately, and “dropping the ball”.
In my underlying disciplinary case, I was ordered to pay approximately $5,300 in “unearned fees” to two clients, and $736 in State Bar investigative fees, which I did as soon as I was able to get the money together in 2011/2012.  In May 2012, I applied for reinstatement as an attorney, however, because it was more than 180 days past the end of my six-month suspension, I no longer could be automatically reinstated through a simple application process, but according to Rules 64 & 65 of the Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court, I was required to submit to a full-blown hearing for reinstatement in which I would have to demonstrate “rehabilitation” from my past disciplinary misdeeds, and my current fitness (psychological, academic, and moral character) to practice law by passing a full investigative background check.
I had a reinstatement hearing on July 19, 2012 before Judge William O’Neil, during which “kangaroo court hearing” he denied me due process and a fair hearing.  It is interesting that Judge O’Neil made specific mention in his Report and Recommendation that he had warned me on three separate occasions to not try to represent myself in my reinstatement hearing – Why?  However, I did not have the $3,000 minimum required to hire counsel, so I had no choice but to represent myself in the hearing.
In October 2012, Judge O’Neil issued his Report and Recommendation against my reinstatement on the basis that my application for reinstatement was incomplete, even though the State Bar had never raised this issue, and according to Judge O’Neil my application was “dishonest”; he further found that I had failed to demonstrate that I had been rehabilitated, despite the fact that I had a forensic psychiatrist testify that I had been rehabilitated and the State Bar had no expert to dispute that testimony; and for the reason that I had incurred too much debt in the five years since my suspension due to my business failure during the current recession.  My reinstatement hearing was full of due process irregularities and Judge O’Neil’s Report and Recommendation was full of misstatements of the evidence, evidence spun against me without the benefit of favorable evidence stated on my behalf, and a clear personal agenda against my reinstatement.  My case is presently before the Supreme Court of Arizona, and I am awaiting its decision, but I am not very confident of a favorable decision, because I understand that the Supreme Court rarely rules against the Presiding Disciplinary Judge’s findings and recommendations.
For your review, I have attached the underlying Hearing Officer’s Report of Findings and Recommendations and the Supreme Court Order in my original disciplinary case, as well as, Judge O’Neil’s Report and Recommendation from the recent Hearing in my May 2012 Application for Reinstatement.
I am currently living in East Texas and working for City of Tyler, Texas in a menial temporary data entry position making $11 per hour, as I cannot work in the law field with this scarlet “S” hanging over me, and I cannot practice law in any State until the State Bar of Arizona agrees to first reinstate me, which they are obviously not inclined to do.  I have recently gone through a divorce due to my inability to find gainful employment and support a family.  So, here is an example of me being originally suspended for a mere six-month suspension, which I believe is the shortest term of suspension that could be administered to an attorney at the time, that is still hanging over my head, effectively becoming a disbarment of me, because the State Bar of Arizona and Judge O’Neil have power over me, and it is preventing me from finding gainful employment.  I would be willing to discuss this matter with you further, and would appreciate any assistance that you could bring to my situation.
Sincerely,
Heath Dooley
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Comments

  1. Bryon West says:

    Great article and so true. I came accross a website that shares many if your opinions. Every Attorney that is a member of the Arizona State Bar, and especially Attorneys who have been disciplined would find a wealth of information at: azaacpr.org

    B

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