Byline: Derek Hawkins
WI Supreme Court
Case Name: Office of Lawyer Regulation v. Robert B. Moodie
Case No.: 2020 WI 39
Focus: Attorney Disciplinary Hearing
This disciplinary matter comes to the court on Attorney Robert B. Moodie's appeal of a report and recommendation of Referee James W. Mohr, Jr. The referee based his report in part on Attorney Moodie's stipulation to the two counts of misconduct alleged in the Office of Lawyer Regulation's (OLR) complaint involving his conversion of fees belonging to his law firm to his personal use. Attorney Moodie reserved his right to be heard on the matter of sanctions. After holding a hearing on sanctions and receiving post-hearing briefs, the referee issued a report recommending that the court suspend Attorney Moodie's law license for a period of six months, and order Attorney Moodie to pay the full costs of this proceeding, which total $6,081.63 as of January 15, 2020.
When we review a referee's report and recommendation in an attorney disciplinary case, we affirm the referee's findings of fact unless they are found to be clearly erroneous, but we review the referee's conclusions of law on a de novo basis. In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Inglimo, 2007 WI 126, 5, 305 Wis. 2d 71, 740 N.W.2d 125. We determine the appropriate level of discipline to impose given the particular facts of each case, independent of the referee's recommendation, but benefiting from it. In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Widule, 2003 WI 34, 44, 261 Wis. 2d 45, 660 N.W.2d 686.
After reviewing this matter and considering Attorney Moodie's appeal, we accept the referee's factual findings and legal conclusions based on the parties' stipulation. We agree with the referee's recommendation that a six-month suspension is appropriate, despite Attorney Moodie's arguments to the contrary. We order Attorney Moodie to pay the full costs...