Maine’s highest court hits Presque Isle attorney with disciplinary suspension
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has suspended a Presque Isle attorney’s license to practice for three months after he admitted telling a client involved in a domestic dispute that he could retrieve property from a house against a court order.
The Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar, which governs the conduct of lawyers, sought the sanctions against Eugene McLaughlin Jr. after finding that he violated the Maine Rules of Professional Conduct multiple times.
In its ruling issued on March 28, the state’s highest court found that on March 30, 2016, McLaughlin gave “patently incorrect advice to his client” regarding the client’s right to enter a house and remove a $200 treadmill. They also found that McLaughlin “actively participated in the entry and removal of the property” and “failed to provide a frank and truthful account of his behaviors” to the board of overseers during its proceedings.
According to court documents, McLaughlin’s advice to his client that he could enter the house and remove property was “clearly contrary to the court order” and the removal of the property constituted a crime against the person who had the exclusive right to possession of the premises. At the same time, Mclaughlin’s advice and actions “contributed to the violation of a valid and binding court order.”
While the treadmill only had a $200 value, there was distress caused to the owner of the premises by the intrusion, and McLaughlin’s client was convicted of criminal trespass.
The supreme court ordered a disciplinary suspension of six months with three months suspended, followed by nine months’ probation.
McLaughlin will be allowed to practice while on probation, but must be monitored by another lawyer who will provide periodic reports to the board of overseers.
During the probationary period, Mclaughlin and the monitor will review his active cases and assess his handling of those matters for compliance with the rules of professional conduct.
Leonard Sharon, attorney for McLaughlin, could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.