7.2 Disciplinary Proceedings Before the Court
(a) Petition for Review of Public Reprimand.
(1) Petition and Answer. Within 21 days after delivery of a public reprimand, a respondent attorney may file a petition for review of the action of the disciplinary or Board panel by a single justice of the Court. The petition for review shall be filed with the Executive Clerk of the Court by the respondent attorney and shall be served by the respondent attorney at the same time upon Bar Counsel by registered or certified mail. The petition for review shall include copies of the petition and answer filed with the Commission and of the reprimand and shall contain a concise statement of the grounds upon which the respondent attorney seeks relief and a demand for the specific relief sought. Within 21 days after receipt of the petition for review, Bar Counsel shall file an answer with the Executive Clerk of the Court and shall transmit a copy thereof to the respondent attorney and the complainant.
(2) Preparation of Record. Within 21 days after filing the answer, Bar Counsel shall prepare and file the complete record of the proceedings and shall furnish a copy thereof to the respondent attorney. If the respondent attorney believes that the record filed by Bar Counsel is either incomplete or over-inclusive, the respondent attorney shall serve notice upon Bar Counsel within 10 days after the record is filed. This notice shall include specific proposals by the respondent attorney regarding additions or deletions from the record filed by Bar Counsel. Bar Counsel and the respondent attorney shall attempt to agree upon the contents of the record. If the parties cannot agree, the respondent attorney may request that the court modify the contents of the record.
(3) Motion for Trial of the Facts. If, on motion, the court finds in its discretion that the respondent attorney ought to have a trial of the facts, the court may order a hearing to permit the introduction of evidence that does not appear in the record of the proceedings before the Grievance Commission disciplinary panel and that has not been stipulated. A motion for a trial of the facts shall be filed within 21 days after the petition is filed. The failure of a respondent attorney to file such a motion shall constitute a waiver of any right to a trial of the facts. With the motion the respondent attorney shall also file a detailed statement, in the nature of an offer of proof, of the evidence to be introduced at the hearing. That statement must be sufficient to permit the court to make a proper determination as to whether any trial of the facts as presented in the motion and offer of proof is appropriate and if so to what extent. After hearing, the court shall issue an appropriate order specifying the future course of proceedings. The court on its own motion may order that additional evidence be taken.
(4) Scope of Review. Except where otherwise provided by order of court pursuant to subsections (3) or (5) hereof, review of the decision of a Grievance Commission disciplinary panel or Board panel to impose a public reprimand shall be based upon the record of the proceedings before the panel. The judgment entered after such review may affirm, vacate or modify the decision of the panel. Any findings of fact of the Grievance Commission disciplinary panel shall not be set aside unless clearly erroneous. Either party may appeal to the Law Court within 10 days from entry of the judgment of the single justice.
(5) Finding of Probable Cause. If at any stage of the proceedings on petition for review, the court determines that there is probable cause that the matter be concluded by suspension or disbarment, the court shall direct Bar Counsel to file an information and the matter shall be conducted as an attorney discipline action in accordance with subdivision (b) of this rule.
(b) Attorney Discipline Actions Before the Court.
(1) Commencement. An attorney discipline action authorized pursuant to Rule 7.1(e)(3)(C) or (5)(C) shall be commenced by the filing of an information with the Executive Clerk of the Court. The information shall allege that the respondent is an attorney subject to these rules and has conducted herself or himself in a manner unworthy of an attorney admitted to the Bar of this State for the reasons specified in the information. The Board shall be responsible for serving the information, together with a summons, upon the respondent attorney in the manner provided by Rule 4 of the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure.
(2) Procedure. An attorney discipline action shall be heard by a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court assigned by the Chief Justice to hear the action. To the extent appropriate, and except as otherwise provided in these rules, the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure and the Maine Rules of Evidence shall govern attorney discipline actions. The Board shall be treated as the plaintiff and the respondent attorney as the defendant; and the action shall be captioned "The Board of Overseers of the Bar v. [name of respondent attorney]." In applying those rules, and in this subdivision, the word "court" shall mean the single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court assigned to hear the action; and the word "clerk" shall mean the Executive Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court.
Rules 12(c), 13, 14, 16, 26 through 37, and 56 of the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure shall not apply to attorney discipline actions; provided, however, that:
(A) Bar Counsel shall furnish to the respondent attorney, within a reasonable time after the filing of the information, copies of all exhibits presented to the Grievance Commission disciplinary panel or the Board in the proceedings leading to the information. The stenographic or electronic record, as required by Maine Bar Rule 7.1(e)(2)(c), and any other matter within Bar Counsel's possession or control that is discoverable under Rule 26 of the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure shall be made available to the respondent attorney at the office of Bar Counsel at any reasonable time for inspection and copying at the respondent attorney's expense.
(B) Discovery pursuant to Maine Rules of Civil Procedure 26 through 37 may be had, upon a showing of good cause, by order of court.
(C) The court may in its discretion hold a prehearing conference with the attorneys for the parties to consider such matters as may aid in the disposition of the action and may by written order limit the issues to be tried.
(3) De Novo Proceedings. The trial of an attorney discipline action shall be de novo.
(4) Burden of Proof. In an attorney discipline action the Board shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence the charges specified in the information.
(5) Judgment and Appeal. The judgment entered in an attorney discipline action may impose a reprimand, suspension for a definite period or disbarment, or may dismiss the information. Either party may appeal to the Law Court within 21 days from the entry of the judgment of the single justice.
(6) Attorney's Status Pending Appeal. Pending appeal to the Law Court, a judgment of suspension or disbarment shall, unless stayed in whole or in part by the single justice or by the Law Court, be given full force and effect in accordance with the provisions of Rule 7.3(i).
(7) Bypassing Complete Grievance Commission Preliminary Review When Another Matter Pending Against the Respondent. Whenever a respondent attorney is the subject of a disciplinary proceeding either authorized or instituted pursuant to Rule 7.1(e) or 7.2(a), (b), Bar Counsel may, with the consent of the Grievance Commission panel, commence a disciplinary action before the Court, pursuant to Rule 7.2(b), concerning any allegations of misconduct by the same respondent attorney that have subsequently come to the attention of Bar Counsel, and have been investigated by Bar Counsel pursuant to Rules 7.1(b) and (c), and reviewed by the Grievance Commission pursuant to Rule 7.1(d), even though there has been no hearing before the Grievance Commission as to those subsequent allegations of misconduct as is usually required under the provisions of Rule 7.1(e)(1)-(5).
(8) Expenses of Proceedings. In addition to any discipline imposed by the court, the court may, when it deems it appropriate, also require the respondent attorney to pay the reasonable expenses incurred by the Board in the investigation of the matter or in the conduct of hearings before the Grievance Commission or before the court. The court may make such orders as are just concerning the payment of such expenses including ordering that the respondent attorney be suspended from the practice of law until such expenses are paid.
(9) Intervention by the Attorney General. [Abrogated]
(c) Temporary Suspension.
(1) Pending final determination by the Grievance Commission of any disciplinary proceeding, Bar Counsel, with the approval of the Board, may petition the Court for an order temporarily suspending any member of the Bar from the practice of law in this State if there is a substantial probability that the attorney has committed a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility that threatens irreparable injury to any client, the public or to the administration of justice.
(2) The petition for temporary suspension shall set forth a plain and concise statement of the grounds therefor, shall be verified and supported by affidavit, and shall be served upon the respondent attorney by sending it by certified or registered mail to the address furnished by the respondent attorney in the last registration statement filed in accordance with Rule 6, or to the respondent attorney's last known business address or home address if no registration statement has been filed. The Court, after affording the respondent attorney an opportunity to be heard, may make such order, including temporary suspension, as it deems appropriate.