In the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Robert W. Horsch, Attorney at Law:
Robert W. Horsch, Respondent. Office of Lawyer Regulation, Complainant,
disciplinary proceeding. Attorney's license suspended.
We review the report and recommendation of Referee Richard M.
Esenberg that Attorney Robert W. Horsch be publicly
reprimanded for professional misconduct and that he pay the
full costs of this proceeding, which are $1, 797.03 as of
February 7, 2017. The Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) asked
that, in addition to the public reprimand, the court impose
various conditions on Attorney Horsch. The referee
recommended that implementation of the conditions be
suspended for a period of 90 days following this court's
order imposing discipline. The referee made this
recommendation because it appeared that Attorney Horsch
wanted to voluntarily resign from the practice of law. The
referee recommended that if, during the 90-day period,
Attorney Horsch voluntarily resigned from the State Bar, the
conditions would not need to be implemented.
We conclude that Attorney Horsch's felony conviction for
fourth offense operating while intoxicated (OWI) warrants a
60-day suspension of his license to practice law rather than
a public reprimand. Attorney Horsch has now indicated that he
does not want to resign from the practice of law. However,
his license is currently administratively suspended so he is
not practicing law. Under the circumstances, we deem it
appropriate to order that the conditions proposed by the OLR
would take effect in the event Attorney Horsch ever resumes
the active practice of law. We also deem it appropriate, as
is our custom, to impose the full costs of this proceeding
against Attorney Horsch.
Attorney Horsch was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin in
2003. His Wisconsin law license has been suspended since 2013
for failure to pay State Bar dues, noncompliance with
continuing legal education (CLE) requirements, and failure to
submit the required trust account certification to the State
Bar. Attorney Horsch's prior disciplinary history
consists of a private reprimand imposed for a criminal
conviction for OWI, third offense, and practicing law while
his license was suspended. Private Reprimand No. 2015-5
(electronic copy available at
On September 21, 2015, the OLR filed a complaint alleging
that Attorney Horsch had committed three counts of
misconduct. The complaint alleged that on the evening of
September 28, 2014, a citizen called to report a person
passed out in a vehicle in the middle of the road. Sheboygan
police responded and found Attorney Horsch leaned over in the
driver's seat of his vehicle, sleeping. An officer woke
Attorney Horsch and noted that he did not seem to know where
he was. Attorney Horsch said he was tired and that he was not
safe to drive. He had consumed alcohol.
Because of his three prior OWI convictions, Attorney Horsch
was not to operate a motor vehicle with an alcohol
concentration greater than 0.02 percent. An analyst from the
State Lab of Hygiene subsequently tested a sample of Attorney
Horsch's blood taken in connection with the September 28,
2014 incident and reported that Attorney Horsch's blood
alcohol level was 0.24 percent.
As of September 28, 2014, Attorney Horsch's driving
privileges had been revoked. He had an occupational license,
but he was operating outside of his approved hours when the
officer found him.
On April 23, 2015, Attorney Horsch appeared before Judge
Bourke in Sheboygan County circuit court and entered no
contest pleas to fourth offense OWI, a Class H felony, and
operating while revoked, an unclassified misdemeanor. Judge
Bourke found Attorney Horsch guilty of both offenses and
sentenced him to serve eight months in jail with Huber
release for work and child care, plus fines and court costs,
a 36-month revocation of his license to drive, and other
conditions. Attorney Horsch never reported his convictions to
the OLR or to the clerk of this court.
On January 7 and February 10, 2015, the OLR sent letters to
Attorney Horsch seeking information about the case and
advising him of his duty to cooperate with the OLR's
investigation under SCRs 21.15(4), 22.03(6) and other
applicable Supreme Court Rules. Attorney Horsch never
responded to either letter.
The OLR's complaint alleged the following counts of
Count One: By engaging in conduct leading to
his conviction for the felony offense of OWI 4th and a
misdemeanor conviction for Operating While Revoked, Attorney
Horsch violated SCR 20:8.4(b).
Count Two: By failing to report his
conviction for the felony offense of OWI 4th and his
misdemeanor conviction for Operating While Revoked to the OLR
and the Clerk of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, Attorney
Horsch violated SCR 21:15(5) and SCR 20:8.4(f).
Count Three: By failing to respond to the
OLR's investigative letters of January 7 and February 10,
2015, Attorney Horsch violated SCR 22.03(2)  and SCR 22.03 (6)
OLR asked that this court publicly reprimand Attorney Horsch.
It also asked that the court impose the following conditions:
• Within 60 days of the Court's final order,
Attorney Horsch must provide to the OLR signed medical
releases of confidentiality for each treatment provider who
has provided or is providing alcohol-related or substance
abuse-related treatment, assessment or services to Attorney
Horsch during the past five years, so that the OLR and each
provider can share pertinent information related to Attorney