Argued: February 1, 2018
Court for Baltimore City Case No. 24-C-17-001903
Barbera, C.J., Greene, Adkins, McDonald, Watts, Hotten,
attorney discipline proceeding involves a lawyer who
knowingly failed to disclose during the bar application
process that, in a civil case to which the lawyer was a
party, a trial court found that the lawyer had engaged in
dishonesty and misconduct, and the lawyer falsely stated to
Bar Counsel that he had disclosed all required information
during the bar application process.
becoming a member of the Bar of Maryland, Gregory Allen
Slate, Respondent, initiated a civil case concerning alleged
copyright infringement, claiming that hidden camera footage
that he had recorded was used without his authorization. The
trial court dismissed the case on the ground that Slate had
engaged in bad-faith litigation conduct. The trial court
found that Slate: fabricated a letter and submitted it to the
trial court in bad faith; gave deposition testimony that was
either perjurious or, at least, intentionally misleading; and
repeatedly attempted to abuse the discovery process through
such actions as attempting to fraudulently collect evidence,
providing discovery materials in a soiled envelope that
strongly smelled of excrement, improperly videotaping his own
deposition testimony, and providing voluminous irrelevant and
misleading materials. Slate filed a motion for
reconsideration. The trial court denied the motion, and found
that Slate's filings in connection with the motion showed
a continuing pattern of omissions and obfuscations.
did not attach copies of the trial court's opinions to
his bar application or provide any information about the
findings therein. In response to Question 11 on the bar
application, which called for information about cases to
which an applicant had been a party, Slate disclosed basic
facts about the case, such as the circumstance that an appeal
was pending at the time. Slate, however, did not disclose the
trial court's opinions or the findings therein.
Significantly, Slate responded "No" to Question
18-a "catchall question" that calls for any
negative information that was not requested by, or given in
the responses to, any of the other questions.
submitting his bar application, Slate falsely affirmed under
oath that all of the facts in his bar application remained
correct. Slate did not supplement his bar application with
the trial court's opinions or the findings therein. Nor
did Slate disclose the trial court's opinions or the
findings therein during the character interview. Nor did
Slate disclose the information during a meeting with the
co-chairs of the Character Committee for the Fourth Appellate
Judicial Circuit ("the Character
Committee"). Consistent with the Character
Committee's co-chairs' recommendation, the State
Board of Law Examiners ("the SBLE") cleared Slate
for admission without a hearing. This Court, unaware of the
trial court's findings of dishonesty and misconduct,
admitted Slate to the Bar of Maryland.
a year, a Maryland lawyer became aware of the trial
court's opinions, and filed a complaint against Slate
with Bar Counsel. Subsequently, Bar Counsel requested from
Slate a response to the complaint. In a written response,
Slate stated that he had disclosed all required information
during the bar application process.
March 30, 2017, on behalf of the Attorney Grievance
Commission, Petitioner, Bar Counsel filed in this Court a
"Petition for Disciplinary or Remedial Action"
against Slate, charging him with violating Maryland
Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct
("MLRPC") 8.1 (Bar Admission and Disciplinary
Matters), 8.4(c) (Dishonesty, Fraud, Deceit, or
Misrepresentation), 8.4(d) (Conduct That Is Prejudicial to
the Administration of Justice), and 8.4(a) (Violating the
April 4, 2017, this Court designated the Honorable Jeannie
Jinkyung Hong ("the hearing judge") of the Circuit
Court for Baltimore City to hear this attorney discipline
proceeding. On October 11 through 13, 2017, the hearing judge
conducted a hearing. On November 16, 2017, the hearing judge
filed in this Court an opinion including findings of fact and
conclusions of law, concluding that Slate had violated MLRPC
8.1(a), 8.1(b), 8.4(c), 8.4(d), and 8.4(a).
February 1, 2018, we heard oral argument. For the below
reasons, we disbar Slate.
hearing judge found the following facts, which we summarize.
attending law school, Slate worked as a freelance
investigative journalist. In Fall 2007, Slate recorded
footage as part of a hidden-camera investigation in Chicago.
On September 16, 2009, in the United States District Court
for the District of Columbia, Slate sued ABC News, Inc., ABC
News Interactive, Inc., and Disney/ABC International
Television, Inc. (together, "ABC"), initiating
Slate v. Am. Broad. Cos., Inc. ("the ABC
Case"). In the complaint, Slate alleged that ABC had
committed copyright infringement by using his hidden camera
footage without his authorization.
filed a motion for summary judgment and a motion to dismiss
for bad-faith conduct of litigation. In an Order and a
separate Memorandum Opinion dated April 23, 2013, the United
States District Court for the District of Columbia granted
the motion for summary judgment, and, in an alternative
ruling, granted the motion to dismiss "as a sanction for
[Slate]'s persistent course of bad-faith litigation
conduct." Slate v. Am. Broad. Cos., Inc., 941
F.Supp.2d 27, 53 (D.D.C. 2013). The Court found that a
letter that Slate had submitted was "not
authentic and ha[d] been presented to [the] Court in bad
faith." Slate, 941 F.Supp.2d at 47. The Court
found that the letter included a "glaring historical
inconsistency" and was "fabricated after the
fact[.]" Id. The Court found that Slate's
testimony at a deposition "was likely perjurious, or[, ]
at the very least[, ] intentionally misleading."
Id. at 48 n.22. The Court stated:
[Slate] engaged in a course of conduct, which demonstrates
that he does not take seriously his obligation to litigate in
good faith. Most notably,  Slate has repeatedly attempted
to abuse the discovery process, and his persistent course of
conduct in this regard strongly suggests that he acted
willfully. This conduct includes, but is not limited to: (1)
attempting to fraudulently collect evidence; (2) producing
discovery documents in a soiled envelope that had the strong
odor of excrement; (3) improperly videotaping his own
deposition testimony; and (4) producing voluminous amounts of
irrelevant and misleading materials.
Id. at 50 (footnotes omitted). The Court also found
that Slate "lack[ed] respect for the federal judicial
process." Id. at 51.
filed a motion for reconsideration, as well as two other
motions in which he requested that the Court alter or amend
the April 23, 2013 Order. In an Order and a separate
Memorandum Opinion dated December 20, 2013, the Court denied
the motions. See Slate v. Am. Broad. Companies,
Inc., 12 F.Supp.3d 30 (D.D.C. 2013). The Court stated
that Slate's "briefing in connection with his
pending motion for reconsideration continue[d] to exhibit the
clear and convincing pattern of omissions and obfuscations
that warranted granting [ABC's] motion to dismiss for
bad-faith litigation conduct in the first place."
Id. at 42 (citations omitted).
noted an appeal. In an amended notice of appeal dated January
3, 2014, Slate stated: "Notice is also given, that
[Slate] hereby appeals to the United States Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia Circuit from the judgment (Dkt.
102 and Dkt. 103) of this Court entered on the
23rd day of April, 2013 in favor of [ABC] against
per curiam opinion dated November 18, 2014,
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the ABC Case for bad-faith
conduct of litigation, concluding:
The [D]istrict [C]ourt's factual findings of misconduct
were not clearly erroneous; and the [D]istrict [C]ourt did
not abuse its discretion in determining that dismissal was
warranted in light of the numerous instances of misconduct it
cited and the materiality of some of that misconduct to
adjudication of central issues in the case.
Slate v. Am. Broad. Cos., Inc., 584 Fed.Appx. 2');">584 Fed.Appx. 2, 3
(D.C. Cir. 2014) (per curiam) (citations omitted).
working as a freelance investigative journalist, Slate became
associated with a man named Diop Kamau. Slate and Kamau
had a falling-out, after which Kamau began maintaining
multiple websites that included information about Slate's
personal and professional life. Such information included the
Memorandum Opinions in the ABC Case ("the
Opinions"). At the disciplinary hearing, Slate testified
that, because of Kamau's websites about him, he knew that
he could never conceal the Opinions.
Before Slate Submitted His Bar Application
August 2012, Slate began attending the University of
Baltimore School of Law.
third year, Slate became concerned about the impact of his
litigation history on his bar application. In April 2014,
Slate told Jeffrey Shipley, the SBLE's Secretary, that he
had been involved in "contentious" litigation.
Slate, however, did not inform Shipley of the Opinions or the
findings therein. Slate asked about the impact of his
litigation history on his bar application. Shipley advised
Slate to disclose his entire litigation history, and "to
read and follow the directions" on the bar application.
during his third year, Slate told Claudia Diamond, the
Assistant Dean of Academic and Writing Support at the
University of Baltimore School of Law, that he had been
involved in "contentious" litigation. Slate
e-mailed Diamond regarding certain disclosures on his bar
application. Slate, however, did not inform Diamond of the
Opinions or the findings therein.
disciplinary hearing, Slate testified that Shipley, Diamond,
and various other individuals advised him not to disclose the
Opinions in his bar application. Slate blamed these
individuals for his failure to disclose the Opinions in his
bar application. The hearing judge found: "Perhaps the
individuals did, in fact, navigate [Slate] toward
nondisclosure on his bar application; nevertheless,
[Slate]'s attempt to shift the blame does not absolve him
of his responsibility to prove his character to practice law,
and to do so without knowingly omitting material
facts[.]" (Citations omitted).
16, 2014, Slate signed his bar application, which included
his responses to the Character Questionnaire. At the time,
Question 11(a) of the Character Questionnaire stated:
The following is a complete list of all suits in equity,
action[s] at law, administrative proceedings, suits in
bankruptcy or other statutory proceedings, civil citations,
matters in probate, lunacy, guardianship, and every other
judicial proceeding of every nature and kind, except divorce
or criminal proceedings, to which I am or have been a party
(If "None, " so state)[.]
Question 11(a) also required the applicant to provide details
regarding each civil case to which the applicant had been a
party, including the case number, the filing date, the
court's name and address, the date of trial, the date of
disposition, and the disposition.
bar application, Slate disclosed that he had been involved in
thirty-three criminal cases, and had been a party to
forty-three civil cases, including the ABC Case. Slate
disclosed the ABC Case's name, the filing date, the
court's name and address, the date of trial, and the date
of disposition. Next to "Disposition[, ]" Slate
wrote: "Dismissed pending appeal in the United States
Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit[.]"
Slate responded "No" to the question "Are you
[the] subject of any continuing court order?" Slate also
responded "No" to the question "Was the
judgment entered against you?" Slate responded
"No" to Question 11(b), which stated: "Have
any judgments ever been entered against you?" Slate also
responded "No" to Question 11(c), which stated:
"I have attached to this Application certified copies of
all judgments listed in 11(b), whether satisfied or
unsatisfied, and listed below the names and present addresses
(with zip codes) of the holders."
responded "No" to Question 18, the catchall
question, which stated as follows:
Have there been any circumstances or unfavorable incidents in
your life, whether at school, college, law school, business
or otherwise, which may have a bearing upon your character or
your fitness to practice law, not called for by the
questionnaire or disclosed in your answers?
If so, give details, including any assertions or implication
of dishonesty, misconduct, misrepresentation, financial
irresponsibility, and disciplinary measures imposed (if any)
by attaching a supplemental statement. You are not required
to disclose, in response to this question, any juvenile
proceeding or any criminal proceeding expunged pursuant to
Maryland law. Maryland law does not permit expungement of
Slate signed Question 20, which stated:
Affirmation of Applicant's Duty of Full, Candid
Disclosure and Applicant's Continuing Duty to Submit
Written Notice of Changes to Information Sought by the
Application: I understand that the required disclosures
in this questionnaire are of a continuing nature. I hereby
acknowledge my duty to respond fully and candidly to each
question or required disclosure and to ensure that my
responses are accurate and current at all times until I am
formally admitted to the Bar of the State of Maryland. I will
advise the [SBLE] immediately and in writing of any changes
in the information disclosed in or sought by this
questionnaire, including any pertinent facts developed after
the initial filing of this application and the facts of any
incident occurring subsequent to the initial filing of this
I do solemnly declare and affirm under the penalties of
perjury, that the matters and facts set forth in the
foregoing application are true and accurate.
I have made and retained a copy of this entire application
for my records and for use in the event that the original is
lost in the mail or during the character investigation.
(Emphasis in original). Slate did not attach the Opinions to
his bar application or summarize the Opinions in his bar
application. Nor did Slate ever supplement his bar
application with the Opinions.
hearing judge found that, while testifying at the
disciplinary hearing, Slate "distinguished mandatory
disclosures and attachments on the bar application from the
ABC Case." Slate disputed that any part of the bar
application required him to attach the Opinions. Slate opined
that, in light of Question 11(b), the word "judgments,
" as used in Question 11(c), refers only to money
judgments, and thus did not apply to the Opinions.
hearing judge observed that, in the notice of appeal in the
ABC Case, Slate referred to one of the Opinions as a
"judgment." In any event, the hearing judge did not
address whether Question 11 required Slate to disclose the
Opinions. Instead, the hearing judge concluded that Question
18-the catchall question-required Slate to disclose the
Opinions. The hearing judge determined that, by responding
"No" to Question 18, Slate intentionally failed to
disclose material information that reflected adversely on his
Interview and Meeting with Character Committee's
19, 2014, the SBLE received Slate's bar application, and,
on the same date, Slate graduated from the University of
Baltimore School of Law. Slate passed the July 2014 Bar
Examination. On November 2, 2014,  Slate signed an
Affirmation by General Bar Applicant, in which he affirmed
under oath that all of the facts in his bar application
remained correct. The hearing judge found that Slate's
affirmation was false.
bar application was sent to the Character Committee for the
Fourth Appellate Judicial Circuit. On November 18, 2014, as
part of the character and fitness investigation, Joseph A.
Compofelice, a member of the Character Committee, interviewed
Slate. The hearing judge noted that Compofelice is
responsible for following up on moral and ethical issues
identified by the SBLE. If an applicant's character and
fitness is called into question, Compofelice is responsible
for recommending that the Character Committee's
co-chairs, William C. Brennan, Jr. and Roger C. Thomas,
schedule a hearing before a three-member panel.
disciplinary hearing, Compofelice testified that, at the
character interview, he questioned Slate about all
forty-three civil cases, including the ABC Case, that he had
disclosed in his bar application. Compofelice testified that
Slate disclosed the ABC Case and its disposition.
Specifically, Slate disclosed that the United States District
Court for the District of Columbia had granted summary
judgment and dismissed the ABC Case due to discovery
violations, and that an appeal was pending. During the
character interview, however, Slate did not disclose the
Opinions or the findings therein. Compofelice testified that,
had he known of the Opinions and the findings therein,
"at a minimum[, ]" he would have recommended a
hearing. Compofelice testified that he "absolutely
believe[d]" that Slate should have disclosed the
Opinions in his bar application.
on the information in Slate's bar application and his
representations during the character interview, Compofelice
conditionally recommended his admission to the Bar of
Maryland. Compofelice recommended, however, that Brennan and
Thomas review Slate's ...