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RULE 19-715. DISMISSAL OF COMPLAINT; DISMISSAL OF DISCIPLINARY OR REMEDIAL PROCEEDING

West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland RulesEffective: October 1, 2021

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Title 19. Attorneys
Chapter 700. Discipline, Inactive Status, Resignation
Administrative Proceedings [Rules 19-711 to 19-720]
Effective: October 1, 2021
MD Rules Attorneys, Rule 19-715
RULE 19-715. DISMISSAL OF COMPLAINT; DISMISSAL OF DISCIPLINARY OR REMEDIAL PROCEEDING
(a) Recommendation by Bar Counsel or Peer Review Panel. Bar Counsel, upon completion of an investigation, or a Peer Review Panel, after a meeting of the Panel, may recommend to the Commission that:
(1) a complaint be dismissed because the evidence fails to show that the attorney has engaged in professional misconduct or is incapacitated; or
(2) a disciplinary or remedial proceeding be (A) dismissed, with or without a letter of cautionary advice or letter of admonition, because any professional misconduct on the part of the attorney was not sufficiently serious to warrant discipline and is not likely to be repeated, or (B) dismissed, without a letter of cautionary advice or letter of admonition, because any incapacity on the part of the attorney is not sufficiently serious or long-lasting to warrant remedial action or, if resolved, is not likely to recur.
(b) Action by Commission. If satisfied with the recommendation of Bar Counsel or the Peer Review Panel, the Commission shall dismiss the complaint or dismiss the disciplinary or remedial proceeding, as appropriate. If the recommendation includes a letter of cautionary advice or letter of admonition, the matter shall proceed as provided in section (c) of this Rule.
(c) Dismissal Accompanied by Letter of Cautionary Advice or Letter of Admonition.
(1) Letter of Cautionary Advice.
(A) Recommendation by Bar Counsel or Peer Review Panel. Bar Counsel or the Peer Review Panel may recommend to the Commission that the dismissal of a disciplinary or remedial proceeding be accompanied by a letter of cautionary advice upon their respective conclusion that such a letter would be helpful to ensure that the conduct that led to the proceeding is not repeated, the attorney has no prior sanction, and the attorney has not received a prior warning, letter of cautionary advice, or letter of admonition for similar conduct by the attorney.
(B) Action by Commission. If satisfied that dismissal of the disciplinary or remedial proceeding should be accompanied by a letter of cautionary advice, the Commission shall dismiss the disciplinary or remedial proceeding and accompany the dismissal with a letter of cautionary advice.
(C) Nature and Effect of Letter of Cautionary Advice. A letter of cautionary advice is not discipline.
(2) Letter of Admonition.
(A) Recommendation by Bar Counsel or Peer Review Panel. Bar Counsel or the Peer Review Panel may recommend to the Commission that the dismissal of a disciplinary or remedial proceeding be accompanied by a letter of admonition upon their respective conclusion that such a letter would be helpful to ensure that the conduct that led to the proceeding is not repeated.
(B) Action by Commission.
(i) If satisfied that dismissal of the disciplinary or remedial proceeding should be accompanied by a letter of admonition, the Commission shall mail to the attorney a notice that states (a) that on or after 30 days from the date of the notice, the Commission intends to dismiss the disciplinary or remedial proceeding and accompany the dismissal with a letter of admonition, (b) the content of the proposed letter of admonition, and (c) that the attorney may reject the proposed letter of admonition by filing a written rejection with the Commission no later than 25 days after the date of the notice.
(ii) If the letter of admonition is not timely rejected, the Commission shall issue the letter when it dismisses the disciplinary or remedial proceeding.
(iii) If the letter of admonition is timely rejected, the letter shall not be issued, but Bar Counsel or the Commission may take any other action permitted under this Chapter.
(C) Nature and Effect of Letter of Admonition. A letter of admonition is not discipline.
(d) Disclosure of Dismissal; Letter of Cautionary Advice; Letter of Admonition.
(1) Disclosure of Dismissal of Complaint or Proceedings.
(A) Except as provided in subsections (d)(2) and (d)(3) of this Rule, a dismissal of a complaint or proceedings under this Rule, with or without a letter of cautionary advice or letter of admonition, shall not be disclosed by the Commission or Bar Counsel in response to any request for information as to whether an attorney has been the subject of a disciplinary or remedial proceeding.
(B) The nature and existence of a proceeding dismissed under this Rule, including any investigation by Bar Counsel that led to the proceeding, need not be disclosed by an attorney in response to a request for information as to whether the attorney has been the subject of a disciplinary or remedial proceeding.
(2) Disclosure of Letter of Cautionary Advice.
(A) The fact that a letter of cautionary advice was issued in conjunction with the dismissal of a complaint shall not be disclosed to the complainant. The complainant shall be notified only that the complaint was dismissed.
(B) The fact that a letter of cautionary advice was issued and the facts underlying the letter may be disclosed in a subsequent proceeding against the attorney when relevant to a complaint alleging similar conduct by the attorney.
(3) Disclosure of Letter of Admonition.
(A) The fact that a letter of admonition was issued in conjunction with the dismissal of a complaint shall be disclosed to the complainant.
(B) The fact that a letter of admonition was issued and the facts underlying the letter may be disclosed in a subsequent proceeding against the attorney when relevant to a complaint alleging similar conduct by the attorney.
(C) Neither the fact that a letter of admonition was proposed or rejected nor the contents of a letter of admonition that was not issued is admissible into evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding.
Source: This Rule is derived in part from former Rule 16-735 (2016) and is in part new.

Credits

[Adopted June 6, 2016, eff. July 1, 2016. Amended July 9, 2021, eff. Oct. 1, 2021.]
MD R Attorneys, Rule 19-715, MD R ATTORNEYS Rule 19-715
Current with amendments received through May 1, 2024. Some sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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