Georgia Supreme Court rejects reprimand for lawyer’s inappropriate emails to opposing counsel

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Legal Ethics


Supreme Court of Georgia

The Georgia Supreme Court has rejected as too lenient a reprimand for an Atlanta bankruptcy lawyer who acknowledged sending inappropriate emails to opposing counsel in his divorce.

The lawyer, John Michael Spain, had pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of stalking and harassing communications in connection with the emails, according to the Georgia Supreme Court. He sent the emails over a period of two days while he was representing himself. AJC.com and the Legal Profession Blog covered the Feb. 27 opinion.

Spain “admits that the emails included inappropriate threatening language, intimidation and personal attacks directed to opposing counsel, including inappropriate remarks about counsel and members of her family, and ad hominem statements about his wife,” according to the opinion.

The State Bar of Georgia had recommended a reprimand, and Spain had agreed to the punishment. Spain had cited as a mitigating factor his personal and emotional problems related to the marriage. He has since gotten professional help for his problems and has hired a lawyer to represent him in the divorce.

But the state supreme court said neither Spain nor the state bar had identified a case in which the court “imposed only a reprimand for such a serious violation.”

Spain declined to comment when contacted by the AJC.com. He did not immediately respond to a phone message left by the ABA Journal.




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