Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Michael W Burnbaum

What should the consequences be, when a lawyer conceals a felony Federal drug conviction, and continues to represent criminal clients in another jurisdiction ? We have previously covered the attorney disciplinary case, pending in Massachusetts, involving attorney Michael Burnbaum, a former Federal prosecutor who was a criminal defense lawyer in Miami. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, that state's highest court, has entered its ruling.

You may recall that Mr. Burnbaum was representing a client in a Federal criminal case in New York, when it was learned that he had a conviction for Possession, with Intent to Distribute, Cocaine, and that he had served a lengthy sentence for that crime. He was still licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, as he had failed to notify the authorities there of his conviction, which is a violation of state bar rules, and Massachusetts was unaware that he had resigned from the Bar in Florida, due to his conviction.

A single judge, sitting on the Massachusetts court, subsequently imposed a penalty of a three-year suspension, once the felony conviction had become known in that state. The penalty was appealed, and the full Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, finding no mitigating factors present, last week vacated the prior ruling, in an extensive decision, and remanded the case down to County Court, for entry of an Order of Disbarment.

Readers who wish to review the complete text of the order can access the slip opinion at the website of the official reporter of decisions:   (Go to Supreme Court opinions, In the Matter of Michael W Burnbaum, November 14, 2013, Case No.: SJC 11352.)

for those who may feel that disbarment was too extreme a remedy, media in New Jersey have reported that Mr. Burnbaum was an unindicted conspirator in a recent $6m Federal fraud indictment, in District Court in New Jersey, involving a Facebook IPO investment scam. He is shown as "MB" in the court filings, and sufficiently identified to leave no doubt that it is he.


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