Argued: February 6, 2012
Circuit Court for Baltimore County Case No. 03-C-11-007238
Barbera, C.J. Harrell Battaglia Greene Adkins McDonald [*] Bell, JJ.
The Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland ("the petitioner"), acting through Bar Counsel and pursuant to Maryland Rule 16-751 (a),  filed a Petition for Disciplinary or Remedial Action against the respondent, Harvey M. Nusbaum. In that petition, the petitioner alleged that, by pleading guilty to a violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1, the Sherman Antitrust Act, the respondent admitted to the commission of a "serious crime, " within the meaning of Maryland Rule 16-771 (b),  and as defined in Maryland Rule 16-701 (k),  thereby violating Rule 8.4 (b), (c) and ((d), Misconduct,  of the Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct ("MRPC"), as adopted by Maryland Rule 16-812. The petitioner requested, pursuant to Maryland Rule 16-771 (c),  which the Court granted, by order dated August 17, 2010, the immediate suspension of the respondent from the practice of law.
As prescribed by Maryland Rule 16-771 (e), acting pursuant to Maryland Rule 16-752 (a), we referred the Petition to the Honorable John J. Nagle, III, of the Circuit Court for Baltimore County for the evidentiary hearing required by Maryland Rule 16-757. Following that evidentiary hearing, Judge Nagle made, pursuant to Maryland Rule 16-757 (c),  Findings of Fact, as follows:
"Respondent was admitted to the Maryland Bar on October 1, 1963.
"On June 16, 2009, Respondent was indicted in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, along with co-defendant Jack W. Stollof, on a charge of engaging in a combination and conspiracy 'to suppress and eliminate competition by submitting non-competitive and collusive bids at certain auctions for tax liens conducted by a municipality and various counties within the District of Maryland.' The Indictment charged that the combination and conspiracy engaged in by the defendants and other co-conspirators was in unreasonable constraint of trade and commerce in violation of Section 1 of the federal Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1. Respondent allegedly submitted the rigged bids described in the Indictment through certain limited liability companies that he co-owned with Mr. Stollof.
"On May 4, 2010, a judgment in a Criminal Case was entered by the United States District Court for the District of Maryland in the case of United States of America v. Harvey M. Nusbaum, Case N. JFM-1-09-CR-00328-001. This judgment of conviction was entered following Respondent's guilty plea to one count of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. Judge J. Frederick Motz of the U.S. District Court sentenced Respondent to imprisonment for a term of 12 months and one day, to be followed by a two-year period of supervised release, and ordered payment of a monetary fine in the amount of $ 800, 000.00. The judgment also provided for Respondent to perform 100 hours of community service as a condition of probation.
"On July 13, 2010, Respondent reported to the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland to begin serving his term of imprisonment. On May 26, 2011, he was released from custody. He is now on probation subject to supervision of the District of Maryland federal probation office."
Significantly, Judge Nagle expressly found that "Respondent presented no evidence of any mitigating factors or extenuating circumstances."
From those findings of fact, Judge Nagle concluded that the respondent violated MRPC 8.4 (b), (c), and (d). He reasoned:
"The final judgment of conviction entered against Respondent in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland is conclusive evidence of Respondent's guilt of engaging in an illegal combination and conspiracy in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1. Maryland Rule 16-771 (g). the crime of which Respondent stands convicted is a 'serious crime' as that term is defined in Maryland Rule 16-701 (k).
"Respondent engaged in professional misconduct that violated several sections of the Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct. By engaging in the illegal combination and conspiracy of which he stands convicted, Respondent committed a criminal act that reflects adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, thereby violating Rule 8.4 (b). The underlying conduct that resulted in Respondent's conviction involved dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4 (c). Finally, such conduct unlawfully affected the tax lien bidding process at ...