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In re Gackle

March 16, 2007

IN THE MATTER OF THOMAS E. GACKLE, RESPONDENT.


Per curiam.

ORIGINAL PROCEEDING IN DISCIPLINE

Original proceeding in discipline.

Indefinite suspension.

This is an original proceeding in discipline filed by the Disciplinary Administrator against the respondent, Thomas E. Gackle, an attorney admitted to the practice of law in Kansas in 1992. His most recent address registered with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts is Plymouth, Michigan.

A panel of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys held a hearing on the formal complaint on September 19, 2006. The respondent stipulated and the panel found that respondent had violated Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct (KRPC) 8.4(a) (2006 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 510) (professional misconduct) and 8.4(b) (committing a criminal act). The panel recommended the discipline of indefinite suspension, retroactive from October 13, 2005. The respondent has filed no exceptions to the final hearing report.

The hearing panel made the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

"FINDINGS OF FACT

"2. On October 9, 1987, the Missouri Supreme Court admitted the Respondent to practice law. On April 24, 1992, the Kansas Supreme Court admitted the Respondent to the practice of law. The Respondent primarily practiced law in Missouri.

"3. From the summer of 1998, through the fall of 2000, the Respondent viewed, collected, and possessed adult and child pornography.

"4. On October 19, 2000, Dianna J. Lord, the Respondent's employee, opened a locked storage trunk in a storage locker used by the Respondent to store excess business supplies and documents. Inside the trunk, Ms. Lord discovered pictures of nude children. Ms. Lord delivered the trunk to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Later, the Respondent consented to a search of the trunk by the FBI agents.

"5. Also in October, 2000, Ms. Lord discovered child pornography on the Respondent's computer.

"6. On May 23, 2001, the FBI agents sought and obtained the Respondent's consent to search his law office, located in Independence, Missouri. During the search, the FBI agents examined the Respondent's computer. An analysis of the hard drive from the Respondent's computer by a computer specialist-forensic examiner revealed that numerous images of child pornography had been deleted from the computer. The deleted images could not be retrieved from the hard drive. In addition to the deleted images, the FBI Agents located twelve images of child pornography that remained on the Respondent's computer's hard drive.

"7. After the investigation was complete, prosecutors from the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri, and counsel for the Respondent reached an agreement regarding the resolution of the investigation. As a result, the Respondent entered into a diversion agreement for unlawfully possessing child pornography, a felony crime.

"8. The Respondent successfully completed the terms and conditions of the diversion agreement.

"9. . . . Ms. Lord filed complaints with the attorney disciplinary authorities in Kansas and in Missouri. Following a lengthy period of investigation, on February 1, 2006, the Missouri Supreme Court ...


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