Davis, J., concurring:
In this disciplinary proceeding, the Court has denied Mr. Moore's petition for reinstatement of his law license. I fully concur in this decision and all aspects of the meticulously documented opinion. I have chosen to write separately to underscore a few matters that I find to be important.
The record in Mr. Hey's case revealed laudable post-disbarment conduct by
him. Similarly, the record in Mr. Moore's case evidenced commendable post-disbarment
conduct. However, a critical factor in my dissent in Mr. Hey's case was that the record d[id]
not demonstrate that [Mr. Hey] has accepted responsibility for his actions. By his own
admission, he pled guilty to criminal charges only to preserve his pension.
In the instant proceeding, the majority opinion found that Mr. Moore
previously engaged in extremely serious misconduct, misconduct showing a
willingness_on a sustained and knowing basis_to be dishonest, to deceive, to conceal the
truth, and to bend, manipulate, and violate the law_for personal and professional gain. In
denying Mr. Moore's petition for reinstatement of his law license, the majority opinion
concluded that Mr. Moore's continued denial of wrongdoing has forced this Court to give
substantial attention and weight to the proven, serious, criminal misconduct for which he was
originally disbarred_conduct that he admitted under oath, in statements that he now
says_under oath_were lies.
If this Court reinstated Mr. Moore's license we would, in effect, be exonerating
him from all guilt for the crimes to which he pled guilty. This result is the real motivation
behind Mr. Moore's protestations of innocence. He seeks to use reinstatement of his law
license as material support for his preposterous claim of innocence of the crimes to which
he pled guilty. Fortunately, this Court has declined the invitation to be an image maker and
correctly denied Mr. Moore's petition for reinstatement_I only wish the Court had also had
the wisdom to resist this temptation in its resolution of Mr. Hey's case.
(See footnote 2)
In a letter to this Court supporting Mr. Moore's reinstatement, the expert stated that Governor Moore has accepted responsibility for the actions which resulted in the loss of his law license. . . . Additionally, the expert explained
[m]y experience as a teacher of legal ethics, a frequent lecturer on the subject for CLE organizations throughout the country, and as an expert witness in legal ethics cases in West Virginia and a dozen other states leads me to the firm conclusion that, in this case, reinstatement to the practice of law is not only appropriate but highly desirable.
The majority opinion in this case has aptly demonstrated that Mr. Moore has not accepted responsibility for his unlawful actions that led to his disbarment. Thus, in order to support Moore's reinstatement, this ethics expert had to ignore not only the true and well documented facts of this case, but also the established law of this jurisdiction. See, e.g., Syl. pts. 1, 2 & 3, In re Brown, 166 W. Va. 226, 273 S.E.2d 567 (1980) (establishing standards for reinstatement). See also Syl. pt. 3, Committee on Legal Ethics v. Roark, 181 W. Va. 260, 382 S.E.2d 313 (1989) (Ethical violations by a lawyer holding a public office are viewed as more egregious because of the betrayal of the public trust attached to the office.). (See footnote 3) To borrow from the comments of a former West Virginia Law School Professor of Ethics, I am certain Mr. Moore's expert would not relish trying to explain [his position in] this case to a roomful of law students. Jack Bowman, Contingent Fee Case Defied Explanation, The State Journal, October 24, 2003, at 39.
The integrity of our legal system simply cannot tolerate hired gun advocacy in lawyer disciplinary proceedings. The position taken by Mr. Moore, in his quest for reinstatement, tramples upon fundamental principles of ethics. In spite of the clear ethical flaw in Mr. Moore's position, he successfully found a purported ethics expert to support his position. This is troubling to me. This Court has an uncompromising duty to make certain that honest and morally upright persons are representing the legal affairs of the public. To that end, hired gun proponents have no place in lawyer disciplinary proceedings.
W. Va. 1023, 1029, 207 S.E.2d 169, 173 (1974) (additional citations omitted)).