OWNER OF EGOLD IS ALLOWED TO CONTINUE PRACTICING LAW

Updated: 12/14/2008 17:10
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One of the owners of egold payment system Barry Downey has got permission from the D.C. Court of Appeals to continue practicing law, at least for now...

One of the owners of e-gold payment system Barry Downey has got permission from the D.C. Court of Appeals to continue practicing law, at least for now. Such decision was made by Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, Judge Michael Farrell, and Senior Judge William Pryor last week despite the fact that Downey pleaded guilty to operating a money-transmitting business without a license. On Nov. 20, Downey was sentenced to three-years probation and $2,600 in fines.

reports that in most cases, lawyers who are convicted of a felony automatically have their licenses suspended until disciplinary proceedings are finalized, but a D.C. Bar rule allows the court to set aside interim suspensions if “good cause” can be shown.

Before that case "the court had never before written on the set-aside portion of the rule, maybe because few people try to fight interim suspensions,” says D.C. Bar Counsel Gene Shipp.

The ruling lays out four factors to be considered before an interim suspension may be set aside: whether there is a risk of harm to the public, whether the disciplinary proceeding may result in a “significant sanction,” whether the balance of injuries warrants a suspension, and whether the suspension is in the public interest.

Based on those factors and Downey's good standing before the e-gold incident, the court decided he should be allowed to continue practicing law while the Bar Counsel continues its investigation.

“It's the first time the court has written on the issue, so it's always helpful to have some guidance on how the rule should be applied,” Shipp says.


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