In the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Ismael Gonzalez, Attorney at Law:
Ismael Gonzalez, Respondent. Office of Lawyer Regulation, Complainant,
disciplinary proceeding. Attorney's license suspended.
This is a reciprocal discipline matter. On May 16, 2016, the
Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) filed a complaint and
motion pursuant to Supreme Court Rule (SCR) 22.22,
requesting this court suspend Attorney Ismael Gonzalez's
license to practice law in Wisconsin for a period of one
year, as reciprocal discipline identical to that imposed by
the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate
Division, First Judicial Department, and impose costs. Upon
our review, we agree that it is appropriate to impose the
same one year suspension imposed by the Supreme Court of the
State of New York Appellate Division, First Judicial
Department. We decline to award costs.
Attorney Gonzalez was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin
in 1981. Attorney Gonzalez's Wisconsin law license is
currently suspended for failure to pay annual bar dues. He
was admitted to practice law in New York in 1990 and resides
in New York.
The following facts are taken from the documents attached to
the OLR's complaint relating to the New York disciplinary
proceedings. On August 11, 2015, the New York Appellate
Division Supreme Court First Judicial Department suspended
Gonzalez's law license for one year, effective September
10, 2015, based upon 12 counts of misconduct involving five
clients, violation of escrow rules, and failure to file
income tax returns for specific years. Gonzalez's
misconduct included: belligerent and verbal abuse towards his
client's wife; threatening his client's wife that he
would have his client arrested and deported; communicating
information to the immigration authorities that he wanted his
client arrested and deported; falsely telling the immigration
authorities that his client would not appear for his deferred
inspection appointment; and intentionally damaging his client
during the course of the professional relationship. He also
entered into several written retainer agreements that
contained a nonrefundable clause, delayed filing a bankruptcy
petition for 21 months, and failed to file federal and state
personal income tax returns for 2002 through 2007.
The Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate
Division, First Judicial Department found that Gonzalez
violated the Code of Professional Responsibility by:
"conduct adversely reflecting on his fitness as a
lawyer, in violation of Code of Professional Responsibility
DR 1-102(a)(7) (22 NYCRR 1200.3[a]"); "engaging
in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit and
misrepresentation in violation of DR 1- 102(a)(4) (22 NYCRR
1200.3[a]"); "intentionally prejudicing or
damaging his client, during the course of the professional
relationship, in violation of DR 7-101(a)(3) (22 NYCRR
1200.32[a]"); entering into a written retainer
agreement with clients that contained a non-refundable fee
clause, in violation of Rule 1.5(d)(4) of the Rules of
Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200.0); neglecting a legal
matter entrusted to him, in violation of Rule 1.3(b); causing
a cash withdrawal in the amount of $1, 400.00 from his master
escrow account, not to a named payee, thereby violating Rule
1.15(e); and engaging in conduct adversely reflecting on his
fitness as a lawyer by failing to file federal and state
personal income tax returns for the years 2002 through 2007,
in violation of DR 1-102(a)(7).
In addition, Gonzalez did not notify the OLR of the New York
suspension within 20 days of its effective date.
The OLR complaint alleged that, by virtue of the New York
disciplinary one year suspension, Gonzalez is subject to
reciprocal discipline in Wisconsin pursuant to SCR 22.22 and
that, by failing to notify the OLR of his suspension in New
York for professional misconduct within 20 days of the
effective date of its imposition, Gonzalez violated SCR
The OLR asks this court to suspend Attorney Gonzalez's
Wisconsin law license for one year as discipline reciprocal
to that imposed in New York and to impose costs.
On August 10, 2016, this court directed Attorney Gonzalez to
inform the court in writing within 20 days of any claim by
him, predicated upon the grounds set forth in SCR 22.22(3),
that the imposition of discipline reciprocal to that imposed
in New York would be unwarranted, and of the factual basis
for any such claim. No response was received.
Under SCR 22.22(3), in reciprocal discipline matters, this
court shall impose the identical discipline unless one of the
exceptions enumerated in the rule is shown. There is no
indication that any of those exceptions apply in this case.
Therefore, we impose discipline identical to that imposed by
the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate
Division, First Judicial Department.
We decline to impose the costs of this proceeding on Attorney
Gonzalez. See In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Hooker,
2012 WI 100, ¶26, 343 Wis.2d 397, 816 N.W.2d 310 (noting
that in reciprocal discipline cases where a referee is not
appointed, costs are generally not imposed as there are no
referee expenses and the proceedings are less involved).
IT IS ORDERED that the license of Ismael Gonzalez to practice
law in Wisconsin is suspended for a period of one year,
effective the date of this order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, to the extent he has not already
done so, Ismael Gonzalez shall comply with the provisions of
SCR 22.26 concerning the duties of a person whose ...