In the Matter of Attorney G, 2013CO27 (April 22, 2013)

Like the thunk of a mechanical stamp on a wooden desk denying a passport application, the outcome of this case reverberates with the caption: “Rationale Disapproved.” An immigration attorney’s (“G”) representation is paid by the wife of a foreign citizen in deportation proceedings. The client was deported with an unpaid balance. G, who had obtained possession of the wife’s passport, kept it to secure payment pursuant to CRS 12-5-120, the retaining lien statute. The Attorney Regulation Counsel filed an ethics complaint under Colo. RPC 1.15(b) & 1.16(d). The Board dismissed since holding the passport was not impermissible. Exercising its plenary authority over attorney disciplinary matters, the Court determined that 12-5-120 doesn’t permit a lien on a passport, as it is the property of the federal government, not the client. Dismissal was upheld, but for different reasons.

http://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/file/Court_Probation/Supreme_Court/Opinions/2011/11SA239.pdf
http://www.cobar.org/opinions/opinion.cfm?opinionid=8911&courtid=2

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Filed under Appellate Review Challenged, Attorney Regulation

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