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Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Mahone

Court of Appeals of Maryland

September 30, 2013

ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMMISSION OF MARYLAND
v.
DANIEL QUINN MAHONE

Circuit Court for Montgomery County Case No.: 26794M

Barbera, C.J., Harrell, Battaglia, Greene, Adkins, McDonald, [*] Bell, JJ.

OPINION

Bell, C.J. (Retired)

The Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland ("the petitioner"), acting through Bar Counsel and pursuant to Maryland Rule 16-751 (a), [1] filed a Petition for Disciplinary or Remedial Action against Daniel Quinn Mahone, ("the respondent"). The petitioner alleged, in that Petition, that the respondent violated Rules 8.4 (b)[2] and (d), [3]Misconduct, of the Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct ("MLRPC"), as adopted by Maryland Rule 16-812.

Pursuant to Maryland Rule 16-752 (a), we referred the Petition to the Honorable Joseph M. Quirk of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County for the evidentiary hearing required by Maryland Rule 16-757.[4] Following that evidentiary hearing, Judge Quirk issued Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law pursuant to Maryland Rule 16-757 (c)[5]:

"FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW [6]

II. FINDINGS OF FACT

"1. Daniel Quinn Mahone (hereinafter "Mahone") was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Maryland on June 25, 1986. He currently maintains an office located at 9A West Patrick Street, Frederick, Maryland 21701. Mahone has been a solo practitioner since 2010. He is now fifty (50) years old. He had never been arrested prior to February 1, 2010.

"2. On February 1, 2010, the Honorable Michael R. Pearson was presiding in the case of Mayo v. Taylor (Case No. CADV 10-01823) in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County. The matter involved a Final Protective Order proceeding with allegations of serious injuries to a two (2) year-old child brought by his paternal grandmother against her own son, the child's biological father.

"3. On February 1, 2010, Bailiff Harris, Bailiff Washington, Deputy Sheriff Milam, and Deputy Harville were assigned to Judge Pearson's courtroom to provide security.

"4. Respondent entered the courtroom during Final Argument. He did not "barge" into the courtroom. Respondent represented the child's mother, who had moved to Maine following the removal of the infant from her care by the Washington County Department of Social Services. Respondent's client was neither present nor a party to the proceedings. Neither she nor Respondent had received prior notice of the proceedings. Respondent was made aware of the proceeding by telephone message received the morning of February 1, 2010 from the biological father. Respondent traveled to the Prince George's County Circuit Court to represent his client's interests.

"5. Respondent was dressed in a suit and was not inappropriate in his physical demeanor upon arrival. He was not "disheveled and winded."

"6. Judge Pearson interrupted Final Argument to allow Respondent to inform the Court as to the reason for his presence and to explain his client's position. Judge Pearson informed Respondent as to the nature of the proceedings being a Final Protective Order hearing and informed Respondent that if he chose to file motions regarding the Child's custody, that such would be considered at a later date. Judge Pearson then directed Respondent to be seated.

"7. In the colloquy with Judge Pearson, Respondent was neither rude nor disrespectful. At no time were Respondent's words toward Judge Pearson other than professional.

"8. Following the colloquy between Respondent and Judge Pearson, Respondent did not remain quiet and seated. Judge Pearson's comment regarding lowering of voice was directed to Respondent. Respondent made verbal attempts to communicate with Taylor during Final Argument. In response, Taylor turned around from counsel['s] table to receive communications from Respondent. Respondent was asked on several occasions by Bailiff Harris, Deputy Harville and Deputy Milam to remain quiet, to lower his voice, and to remain seated. Respondent failed to fully comply with these instructions.

"9. Judge Pearson was hearing a sensitive, serious case with pro se parties. His focus was to make and explain his Ruling and to keep matters calm between the parties before him. Respondent's behavior was "animated" before his colloquy with the Court, which behavior became "agitated" thereafter. Mahone did not further attempt to address the Court.

"10. Respondent, from his seat in the Gallery directly behind the biological father, passed one written note to him in the Well. Respondent ceased doing so when instructed by the bailiff.

"11. The only record of courtroom proceedings is that of the court reporter, as no audio or visual recording was made.

"12. Judge Pearson did not specifically direct or address Respondent's courtroom removal nor any other aspect of Respondent's courtroom behavior. Judge Pearson did not admonish, correct, or bring to Respondent's attention any displeasure he may have had with Mahone's behavior until his February 26, 2010 letter to Bar Counsel.

"13. Respondent did not commit any criminal behavior in the courtroom.

"14. Respondent was removed from the courtroom by Deputy Harville after Final Argument has concluded, but before the Ruling was announced. Respondent made several loud statements as he was being escorted from the courtroom regarding his right to remain in the courtroom and regarding his status as an officer of the Court. Deputy Harville did not testify at hearing.

"15. Once outside the courtroom, Respondent became increasingly loud and upset. He failed to obey the instruction of Deputy Milam to remain calm. He attempted to re-enter the courtroom in disobedience to Milam's instruction to remain outside the courtroom until the proceeding was concluded. Respondent's voice tone became increasingly loud. He asserted his claimed right to be inside the courtroom and demanded re-entry. He threatened to sue. The Respondent made slight, unintentional physical contact with Deputy Milam in his effort to regain entry into the courtroom. Respondent's purpose in seeking re-entry was not to thank Judge Pearson, but rather to speak with Taylor. Respondent's testimony in that regard is neither credible nor logical.

"16. Approximately ten (10) people, including at least one (1) child, gathered in the hallway outside the courtroom to observe Respondent's interactions with Deputy Milam at the door and subsequently at the arrest location further down the hallway.

"17. Respondent, immediately before walking away from the Courtroom door to go to the office of the Administrative Judge, directed profane language at Milam, calling him an "ass" at which point Respondent was informed that he was under arrest. This was the only use of profanity by Respondent during these events.

"18. Respondent briskly walked away from Milam and did not heed either repeated advice that he was under arrest or requests to stop. Respondent did not stop. Deputy Milam followed Respondent for approximately thirty (30) to forty (40) yards in the courthouse hallway and forcibly effectuated the arrest. Respondent pulled away from Deputy Milam and was forced to the ground. Respondent struggled. Deputy Milam warned Respondent that if Respondent did not stop his resistance that pepper spray would be used, at which point Respondent stopped any resistance and was placed in handcuffs.

"19. Respondent was arrested and charged with Disorderly Conduct and with Resisting Arrest.

"20. Following arrest, Respondent initially refused to provide identifying information and was detained in the courthouse lock-up for approximately twenty (20) minutes ...


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