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OFFICE OF DISCIPLINARY COUNSEL v. ROCKER.
[Cite as Disciplinary Counsel v. Rocker (1999), __ Ohio St.3d __.]
Attorneys at law -- Misconduct -- Permanent disbarment -- Conviction of
(No. 98-2687 -- Submitted February 10, 1999 -- Decided April 28, 1999.)
ON CERTIFIED REPORT by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and
Discipline of the Supreme Court, No. 94-69.
On February 25, 1994, Sharon Rocker filed for divorce from respondent,
Andrew Joseph Rocker of Cambridge, Ohio, Attorney Registration No. 0011981,
who was at that time the city law director. On March 1, 1994, respondent killed
his wife by shooting her in her head and chest five times at point-blank range with
a .22 caliber gun. In 1994, respondent was convicted of aggravated murder and an
accompanying firearm specification, and was sentenced to life in prison with
parole eligibility after twenty years plus three years of actual incarceration. As a
result of his conviction, we suspended respondent for an indefinite period. In re
Rocker (1994), 70 Ohio St.3d 1463, 640 N.E.2d 186.
In October 1994, relator, Office of Disciplinary Counsel, filed a complaint
charging respondent with violations of Disciplinary Rules based on his
misconduct. After respondent answered, the matter was stayed until after the court
of appeals affirmed respondent's conviction and we dismissed his discretionary
appeal. State v. Rocker (Aug. 20, 1996), Guernsey App. No. 94CA28, unreported,
1996 WL 490687; State v. Rocker (1997), 77 Ohio St.3d 1516, 674 N.E.2d 370.
We then denied respondent's affidavit of resignation, and the matter was submitted
to a panel of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the
Supreme Court ("board"). In re Resignation of Rocker (1998), 82 Ohio St.3d
1420, 694 N.E.2d 467.
The panel found the facts as previously set forth based on the evidence
submitted by relator and a three-page statement provided by respondent. The panel
concluded that respondent's conduct violated DR 1-102(A)(3) (engaging in illegal
conduct involving moral turpitude) and 1-102(A)(6) (engaging in conduct that
adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law). The panel found no mitigating
evidence and recommended that respondent be disbarred. The board adopted the
findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommended sanction of the panel.
Jonathan E. Coughlan, Disciplinary Counsel, and Kevin L. Williams,
Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, for relator.
Andrew Joseph Rocker, pro se.
Per Curiam. We adopt the findings, conclusions, and recommendation of
the board. "[P]ermanent disbarment is an appropriate sanction for conduct that
violates DR 1-102 and results in a felony conviction." Disciplinary Counsel v.
Gallagher (1998), 82 Ohio St.3d 51, 52, 693 N.E.2d 1078, 1079. In fact,
permanent disbarment is the only appropriate sanction for an attorney convicted of
murder. See, e.g., Bar Assn. of Greater Cleveland v. Steele (1981), 65 Ohio St.2d
1, 19 O.O.3d 120, 417 N.E.2d 104 (attorney convicted of first-degree murder of his
wife disbarred); Columbus Bar Assn. v. Riebel (1990), 51 Ohio St.3d 106, 554
N.E.2d 1318 (attorney convicted of several crimes, including five counts of
attempted murder with a deadly weapon, disbarred). Respondent is hereby
permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio. Costs taxed to respondent.
MOYER, C.J., DOUGLAS, RESNICK, F.E. SWEENEY, PFEIFER, COOK and
LUNDBERG STRATTON, JJ., concur.
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