Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A tough year for CM Jerry Maynard, Esquire

CM-at-Large Jerry Maynard saw his law license suspended by the Supreme Court last January because he failed to respond to a complaint of ethical misconduct. According to the Nashville Post, the grounds of the suspension lie in Tennessean columnist Gail Kerr's disclosure that Maynard worked in a legal capacity for a North Nashville health center while serving an earlier suspension.

Then last July a petition for discipline was filed against Reverend Maynard (yes, he is also a senior pastor of a Clarksville congregation as well as a former professor of law and ethics and member of the Democratic Party Executive Committee). I cannot find any details on that filing, but reportedly, CM Maynard appears to be in the more formal stage of the disciplinary process at this point. Here is how that is said to play out:
At the end of the informal phase, disciplinary counsel will reach a conclusion about what should happen next. If you have not been able to convince disciplinary counsel that the matter should be dismissed, then the informal, investigatory phase of the process is going to end one of two ways: either the Board, through Disciplinary Counsel, will propose some form of public or private discipline on your license, or the Board will publicly file a formal petition for discipline against you thereby beginning the second phase of the process. Are you convinced you need a lawyer yet?

The second phase looks a lot like the pursuit of a civil lawsuit with a three-member hearing panel playing the part of the judge and jury. You will have to file an answer to the petition, the hearing panel will enter a scheduling order, there will be discovery including the right to take depositions, and ultimately you will try your case to the hearing panel. The hearing panel’s ruling can be appealed to circuit court or chancery court and, from there, directly to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Because of a change in disciplinary procedure a few years ago, once the petition for discipline has been filed, the whole proceeding is public like other civil lawsuits. Significantly, this also means that the respondent lawyer’s ability to walk away with a private reprimand is now gone. Once this Rubicon has been crossed, a lawyer has to either win the case completely or face some form of public discipline, as the lowest form of discipline that can be imposed by a hearing panel is a public censure.
I cannot imagine this is good news for the CM, who was elected to represent all of us as "at-Large," but it should be a consideration if he decides to run again.

I have heard that CM Maynard is going to lead the Mayor's effort at Tuesday night's council meeting to beat the opposition to selling the fairgrounds to private developers. His checkered ethical history will not exactly give a boost to that cause. Actually, his deal to be one of Karl Dean's advocates for redevelopment may be an extension of his seeming penchant for misconduct.

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