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Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Reno

Court of Appeals of Maryland

November 19, 2014

ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMMISSION OF MARYLAND
v.
SANDRA LYNN RENO

Argued September 10, 2014.

Circuit Court for Cecil County. Case No. 07-C-13-000559.

Argued by JaCina N. Stanton, Assistant Bar Counsel, Glenn M. Grossman, Bar Counsel, Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland, on brief for Petitioner.

Argued by Howard L. Cardin, Esquire, of Baltimore, MD, on brief for Respondent.

Barbera, C.J., Harrell, Battaglia, Greene, Adkins, McDonald, Watts, JJ. Opinion by Watts, J.

OPINION

Page 566

[440 Md. 415] Watts, J.

" This attorney discipline proceeding concerns a Maryland lawyer who purchased and gave a handgun to a person who could not legally possess a regulated firearm." Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. Reno (" Reno I" ), 436 Md. 504, 505, 83 A.3d 781, 781 (2014).

On January 24, 2014, in Reno I, id. at 511-12, 83 A.3d at 785, we held that Sandra Lynn Reno (" Reno" ), Respondent, a member of the Bar of Maryland, violated Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct (" MLRPC" ) 8.4(d) (Conduct [440 Md. 416] That Is Prejudicial to the Administration of Justice) and 8.4(a) (Violating the MLRPC) by circumventing the law and giving a handgun to a former client who, as Reno should have known, could not legally possess a regulated firearm, despite knowing that the Firearms Registration Section of the Maryland State Police had disapproved the former client's application to buy the same kind of handgun.[1] " Instead of determining an appropriate sanction on our own initiative, we g[a]ve Reno and the [Attorney Grievance] Commission [(" the Commission" ), Petitioner,] the opportunity to recommend a sanction[.]" Reno I, 436 Md. at 512, 83 A.3d at 786.

On September 10, 2014, we heard oral argument. For the below reasons, we suspend Reno from the practice of law in Maryland for six months.

BACKGROUND

Hearing Judge's Findings of Fact

In Reno I, 436 Md. at 506-08, 83 A.3d at 782-83, we stated:

In her opinion, [the Honorable Jane Cairns Murray (" the hearing judge" ) of the Circuit Court for Cecil County] found the following facts, which we summarize.
On December 19, 1991, this Court admitted Reno to the Bar of Maryland. In 2002, Reno began practicing criminal law at the Law Offices of Jim Baldwin.
On or about February 18, 2004, Cortney Stevens [(" Stevens" )] was convicted of possession of a controlled dangerous substance other than marijuana. In 2005, Reno met Stevens and later served as his lawyer. In 2008, while represented by someone other than Reno, Stevens was convicted of making a false prescription. Sometime before 2010, Stevens informed Reno that he had a prior drug charge for which he received probation before judgment. Stevens also informed Reno of a prescription forgery charge.
[440 Md. 417] On or about September 14, 2010, Stevens visited Chesapeake Guns, a firearms store in Stevensville. At Chesapeake Guns, Stevens completed an application to buy a .45 caliber 1911 handgun. In a letter dated September 22, 2010, the Firearms Registration Section of the Maryland State Police informed Stevens that his application had been disapproved. The letter did not include the reasons for Stevens's application's disapproval. Reno learned of the letter and testified that she thought that the reason for Stevens's application's disapproval was a minor issue such as a failure by Stevens to have paid a fine.
On November 6, 2010, Reno visited On Target, a firearms store in Severn. At On Target, Reno obtained a .45 caliber 1911 handgun (" the handgun" ). Reno ...

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