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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

U.S. Department of Justice
Executive Office for Immigration Review

Office of the Director
5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 2600
Falls Church, Virginia 22041

NEWS RELEASE Contact: Public Affairs Office
(703)305-0289, Fax: (703)605-0365
Internet: www.usdoj.gov/eoir

January 22, 2002

EOIR Announces Latest Disciplinary Actions Under Rules of Professional Conduct Two Attorneys Reinstated; Nine Receive Final Orders; Three Others, Immediate Suspensions

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) has reinstated two previously suspended attorneys and taken disciplinary action against 12 others after charging them with violations of the rules of professional conduct for immigration practitioners provided in Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations (8 CFR Parts 3 and 292). The attorneys' rule violations arose out of sanctions imposed by other jurisdictions.

Disciplinary proceedings began in each case with a Petition for Immediate Suspension and Notice of Intent to Discipline filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals (the Board) by EOIR's Office of the General Counsel. The Board then ordered each attorney's immediate suspension from practice before the Immigration Courts, the Board, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (the Service) and required the attorney to respond to the alleged violations.

Reinstatement

The Board granted motions filed by the following attorneys to be reinstated to practice before the immigration tribunals after having completed their periods of suspension.

  • Alexis I. Irizarry Vega was reinstated October 23, 2001, after he offered evidence asserting that he has been reinstated to practice in Puerto Rico.
  • Samuel Reyes Escamilla was reinstated November 27, 2001, after the Supreme Court of Colorado reinstated him to practice in that jurisdiction.
Final Orders of Discipline

The Board issued Final Orders of Discipline against the following attorneys after they failed to respond as required to the Notice of Intent to Discipline.

  • Chris H. Asher, disbarred by the Courts of Appeals of Maryland and the District of Columbia, was suspended by the Board on July 30, 2001. The Final Order of October 29, 2001, suspends him from practice before the immigration tribunals for 5 years.
  • Frank A. K. Awuah, suspended indefinitely by the Courts of Appeals of Maryland and the District of Columbia, was suspended by the Board on October 1, 2001. The Final Order of December 31, 2001, suspends him indefinitely from practice before the immigration tribunals.
  • Michael T. Barrett, suspended from practice by the Supreme Court of the State of Oregon, was suspended by the Board on October 4, 2001. The Final Order of December 31, 2001, suspends him indefinitely from practice before the immigration tribunals.
  • Paul Ira Freedman, suspended from practice by the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County, Massachusetts, based on his conviction of a Class E felony (conspiring to file false asylum applications) by the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, was suspended by the Board on September 18, 2001. The Final Order of December 7, 2001, expels him from practice before the immigration tribunals.
  • John Owen Meyers III, suspended from practice by the Supreme Court of California, was suspended by the Board on October 29, 2001. The Final Order of December 31, 2001, suspends him from practice before the immigration tribunals for 20 months.
  • John J. Kozlowski, suspended from practice by the Supreme Court of California, was suspended by the Board on October 29, 2001. The Final Order of December 31, 2001, suspends him from practice before the Immigration tribunals for 90 days.
  • John Roger Snow, disbarred by the Supreme Court of Florida, was suspended by the Board on September 18, 2001. The Final Order of October 29, 2001, suspends him from practice before the Immigration tribunals for 5 years.
  • Robert A. Wilkinson, disbarred by the Supreme Court of Georgia, was suspended by the Board on September 18, 2001. The Final Order of November 21, 2001, suspends him from practice before the immigration tribunals for 3 years.
  • Julia A. Soininen, suspended on an interim basis from the practice of law by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals after pleading guilty to one count of theft, was suspended by the Board on July 6, 2001. She responded to the Notice of Intent to Discipline, seeking disciplinary action no harsher than that imposed in the District of Columbia. In proceedings against her, on November 20, 2001, Immigration Judge Jeffrey S. Chase ordered her suspended from practice before the immigration tribunals for 1 year.
Immediate Suspensions

The Board ordered immediate suspensions of the following attorneys for the reasons stated:

  • Martha L. Burns, indefinitely suspended from practice for a minimum of 9 months by the Minnesota Supreme Court on August 30, 2001, was suspended by the Board on December 7, 2001, pending final disposition of her case.
  • Rosalynn D. Guillen, disbarred by the Supreme Court of Washington on August 30, 2001, was suspended by the Board on October 29, 2001, pending final disposition of her case.
  • William Wright, Jr., disbarred by the Supreme Court of New Jersey on March 17, 2000, and by the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County, Massachusetts, on March 30, 2001, was suspended by the Board on December 7, 2001, pending final disposition of his case.
Summary

In each of the disciplinary matters cited above, the suspended attorney was directed "to promptly notify, in writing, any clients with cases currently pending before the Board, the Immigration Courts, or the Service" that he or she may no longer represent clients before these tribunals.

The rules of professional conduct include provisions specifying grounds for disciplinary action, requirements for receiving and investigating complaints, and procedures for conducting hearings. The rules also authorize the Board to immediately suspend a practitioner who has been subject to disbarment, suspension, or resignation with an admission of misconduct as imposed by a State or Federal court, pending a summary proceeding and final sanction.

EOIR announces these disciplinary actions to inform the public about practitioners who are not authorized to represent any matter before an immigration tribunal. EOIR also posts a list of suspended and expelled practitioners on its Web site at www.usdoj.gov/eoir.

- EOIR -


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