Colorado Moves to Suspend Ohio Lawyer Who Ratted Out Clients
Last week I wrote about Ohio criminal defense lawyer Frank Pignatelli, who according to news reports in Ohio, was about to get indicted in a drug case and got himself off the hook by ratting out his clients, which resulted in Ohio obtaining 30 convictions. One former client got 15 years.
I was not happy to learn Pignatelli moved to Colorado, obtained a law license and was representing defendants in federal drug cases.
Apparently, either was the Colorado disciplinary counsel. They have issued a press release advising that they have taken action against Pignatelli to suspend his license in Colorado because of allegedly fraudulent statements in his application. Fox31 Denver has the report. [More...]
Yesterday afternoon, I received a copy of the press release, but didn't want to post it until it was reported in the news. Now that the news has picked up on the story, here is what it says:
Colorado Supreme Court
Attorney Regulation Counsel
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation files petition to suspend Francis (Frank) M. Pignatelli
DENVER – The Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation today announced that it has filed a petition to immediately suspend Colorado lawyer Francis (Frank) M. Pignatelli from the practice of law. The petition is now pending before Supreme Court Presiding Disciplinary Judge William Lucero.
The petition alleges that Mr. Pignatelli committed fraud when applying to the Colorado Bar in 2006. It is alleged that Mr. Pignatelli failed to disclose that he was subject of a federal criminal investigation in Ohio and that the federal authorities had informed him that they had sufficient information to charge him with federal crimes. Further, that Mr. Pignatelli had agreed to act as a confidential informant against individuals who believed that they had an attorney-client relationship with him.
Mr. Pignatelli will be served with the petition and if a show cause order is issued by Judge Lucero he will have 10 days within which to respond.
The Office of Attorney Regulation is proceeding with attorney discipline charges related to the petition.
Questions may be directed to Supreme Court Regulation Counsel John S. Gleason at 303-xxx-xxxx.
And here's a big surprise (not): In the wake of the Ohio news articles last week, Pignatelli has left his Colorado clients high and dry. Although he did right by one client:
The woman who paid 5,000 dollars finally got a call this afternoon from Pignatelli. She got an apology, and her money back. But it took numerous calls from her, and from Fox31. "I think that had something to do with it, putting pressure on him really," she said of our calls.
Of all the states in the country, he had to pick mine. Goodbye, Mr. Pignatelli. Criminal defense lawyers work for their clients, not law enforcement. If he gets another license elsewhere, maybe he should apply for a job with the D.A.'s office. Or, better yet, stick to wills and estates.
As I wrote in the earlier post:
If he weren't practicing in my town, I'd have a lot more to say. For now, let me just opine that a lawyer who turns on his own clients hits a new low. Or in the words of Bon Jovi,
"Shot through the heart
and you're to blame
You give love a bad name.
(You can get your's here.)
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