(a) Standard of Professional Conduct. All members of the bar of the District Court and the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Idaho (hereafter the “Court”) and all attorneys permitted to practice in this Court must familiarize themselves with and comply with the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct of the Idaho State Bar and decisions of any court interpreting such rules. These provisions are adopted as the standards of professional conduct for this Court but must not be interpreted to be exhaustive of the standards of professional conduct. No attorney permitted to practice before this court will engage in any conduct which degrades or impugns the integrity of the Court or in any manner interferes with the administration of justice therein.
(1) General authority of the Court, and conduct subject to discipline. This Court may impose discipline on any attorney practicing before this Court, whether or not a member of the bar of this Court, who engages in conduct violating the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct, or who fails to comply with rules or orders of this Court. The discipline may consist of disbarment from practice before this Court, suspension, reprimand, or any other action that the Court deems appropriate and just. In the event any attorney engages in conduct which may warrant discipline or other sanctions, the Court may, in addition to initiating proceedings for contempt under Title 18, United States Code, and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 42, or imposing other appropriate sanctions pursuant to the Court’s inherent powers and/or the Federal Rules of Civil, Bankruptcy or Criminal Procedure, initiate a disciplinary process under section (b)(2) - (4) of this rule, and/or refer the matter under section (b)(8) of this rule.
(2) Conviction of felony or serious crime. Any attorney admitted to practice in this Court who is convicted of a felony or other “serious crime” as defined in Idaho Bar Commission Rule 501(s), in any court of the United States, of the District of Columbia, or of any state, territory, commonwealth, or possession of the United States, has the duty and obligation to report such conviction to this Court within fourteen (14) days of its entry. Upon receiving notice of an attorney’s conviction of a felony or other serious crime, whether received from the attorney, another court or its clerk, or otherwise, such attorney will be immediately suspended from practice before this Court, whether the conviction resulted from a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, or from a verdict after trial, or otherwise.
(A) Pending appeal. The Court will issue an order to show cause at the time of suspension directing the suspended attorney to demonstrate within thirty (30) days from the date of such order why the attorney should be reinstated to practice before the Court during the pendency of any appeal.
(B) Finality of conviction, and disbarment. Upon the conviction becoming final and the Court being informed thereof, the Court will issue an order to show cause directing the suspended attorney to demonstrate within thirty (30) days from the date of such order why the suspension under section (b)(2) of this rule shall not be made permanent and why the Court should not enter an order of disbarment.
(3) Reciprocal discipline (disbarment, suspension or other discipline by any other court). Upon the receipt by this Court of a certified copy of a judgment or order showing that any attorney admitted to practice before this Court has been suspended, disbarred or otherwise disciplined by any other court of the United States or the District of Columbia, or of any state, territory, commonwealth or possession of the United States (hereafter the "supervising court"), or has resigned in lieu of discipline, this Court will review the judgment and order and determine whether similar discipline should be imposed by this Court.
(A) Order imposing discipline and allowing response. If the Court decides that similar discipline is warranted, an order of discipline and conjoined order to show cause will issue advising the disciplined attorney that (1) he or she is immediately subject to the same discipline as imposed by the supervising court and, if such discipline includes suspension or disbarment, may only be reinstated to practice before this Court as hereinafter provided, and (2) if the disciplined attorney contends that meritorious reasons exist why the disciplined attorney should not be subject to the same discipline by this Court as imposed by the supervising court, the disciplined attorney must file within thirty (30) days of this Court’s order, a petition to set aside the discipline and/or be reinstated to practice in this Court. The petition must clearly demonstrate or this Court otherwise find: (i) the procedure in the supervising court was so lacking in notice or opportunity to be heard as to constitute a deprivation of due process; (ii) there was such an absence of proof establishing misconduct that this Court would not accept as final the conclusions reached by the supervising court; (iii) the imposition of the disciplinary action stated in the order of the supervising court would otherwise result in a grave injustice; or (iv) the misconduct warrants discipline substantially different from that stated in the order of the supervising court.
(B) Wind-up. Unless otherwise ordered, the disciplined attorney will have fourteen (14) days after the date of the Order described in this section to wind-up and complete on behalf of any client, all matters pending on the date of the entry of such order.
(4) Original (non-reciprocal) disciplinary proceedings.
(A) Initiation of proceedings. Whenever a district, magistrate or bankruptcy judge of this district believes that conduct of an attorney may warrant disbarment, suspension, reprimand or other discipline by this Court, other than those matters addressed in sections (b)(1), (2) and (3) of this rule, such judge may issue a written report and recommendation for the initiation of disciplinary proceedings (the “recommendation”). The chief district judge, or another district judge if the chief district judge is the judge recommending such action (hereafter the “reviewing judge”), shall review the recommendation to determine if reasonable grounds exist for the initiation of disciplinary proceedings. If the reviewing judge determines that disciplinary proceedings should be initiated, the reviewing judge shall issue an order to show cause under this rule that identifies the basis for and nature of possible discipline.
(B) Response. An attorney against whom an order to show cause is issued under this section shall have thirty (30) days from the date of the order in which to file a response. The attorney may include in the response (i) a request to submit the matter on the recommendation, affidavits, briefs, and the record, or (ii) for a hearing, whether in-person, telephonic, or by video. The failure to include a request for a hearing will be deemed a waiver of any right to a hearing. The failure to file a timely response may result in the imposition of discipline by the Court without further notice.
(C) Hearing on disciplinary charges. If requested by the attorney, a hearing on the disciplinary charges will be conducted by the reviewing judge. If a hearing is not requested, the matter shall be determined by the reviewing judge on the record submitted to him or her. At any hearing under this rule, the attorney may be represented by counsel who shall file a notice of appearance with the reviewing judge and with any attorney appointed by the Court to prosecute the matter under section (b)(4)(d) of this rule.
(D) Appointment of counsel to prosecute charges. In appropriate cases, the reviewing judge may appoint an attorney to prosecute charges of misconduct and shall provide notice of that appointment to the attorney and his counsel, if any. The Court may solicit recommendations from the Lawyer Representatives of the District of Idaho as to an appropriate appointment. Actual out-of-pocket costs incurred by the attorney prosecuting the charges will be reimbursed from the Non-Appropriated Fund after review and approval by the Board of Judges.
(E) Determination, and entry of order. Upon the completion of hearing, if any, and its review of the record, the reviewing judge shall prepare a proposed determination which shall be served on the attorney, and his or her counsel if any. The attorney shall have ten (10) days from the service of the proposed determination within which to file a reply. If the attorney files a reply, the proposed determination, reply and any record developed shall be presented to a randomly drawn three judge panel of the district, magistrate and bankruptcy judges of this Court, other than the initially complaining judge and the reviewing judge. In its discretion, the panel may call for further submissions or hearing. The final order in a disciplinary proceeding where such a reply has been filed by the attorney, shall be by the panel. In the absence of a reply, the proposed determination shall be entered as the final order.
(5) Reinstatement. To be readmitted, a suspended or disbarred attorney must file a petition for reinstatement with the clerk of this Court. The petition shall contain a concise statement of the circumstances of the disciplinary proceedings, the discipline imposed by the Court, and the grounds that justify reinstatement of the attorney. If this Court has imposed reciprocal discipline under section (b)(3) of this rule, and if the attorney has been readmitted by the supervising court or the discipline imposed by that supervising court has been modified or satisfied, the petition shall explain the situation with specificity, including description of any restrictions or conditions imposed on readmission by that supervising court. The petition shall be referred to the chief district judge, or another district judge at the chief district judge’s discretion, who will file a proposed determination. The provisions of section (b)(4)(e) of this rule will govern determination and entry of decision on the petition for reinstatement.
(6) Confidentiality. All proceedings under this rule shall be public, except upon an order entered upon a showing of good cause that sealing all or part of the record is appropriate. The Court may make such determination and enter such an order sua sponte.
(7) Non-limiting effect of rule. Nothing in this rule shall limit the power of an individual judge to impose sanctions as authorized under applicable law including the Federal Rules of Civil, Bankruptcy or Criminal Procedure. Nothing in this rule is intended to limit the inherent authority of any judge of this court to suspend an attorney from practicing before that judge on a case by case basis, after appropriate notice and an opportunity to be heard.
(8) Referral to other courts and entities. This rule does not restrict the Court or any judge thereof from referring an attorney or a matter to any other court or to any bar association for investigation and/or disciplinary action.
Related Authority and Notes
Idaho Bar Commission Rule 512(b) requires notification of conviction as is provided in section (b)(2) of this rule.
Idaho Bar Commission Rule 517(d) provides a period similar to that set forth in section (b)(3)(B) of this rule.