In the Matter of Michael J. Giardine, Respondent.
PROCEEDING IN DISCIPLINE
proceeding in discipline.
R. Moylan, Deputy Disciplinary Administrator, argued the
cause, and Stanton A. Hazlett, Disciplinary Administrator,
was with her on the formal complaint for the petitioner.
Ambrosio, of Ambrosio & Ambrosio, Chtd., of Topeka,
argued the cause, and Michael J. Giardine, respondent, argued
the cause pro se.
an original proceeding in discipline filed by the office of
the Disciplinary Administrator against the respondent,
Michael J. Giardine, of Cimarron, an attorney admitted to the
practice of law in Kansas in 2006.
March 21, 2016, the office of the Disciplinary Administrator
filed a formal complaint against the respondent alleging
violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct
(KRPC). The respondent timely filed an answer on April 1,
2016. Respondent and the Deputy Disciplinary Administrator
entered into a Stipulation on May 25, 2016. A hearing was
held on the complaint before a panel of the Kansas Board for
Discipline of Attorneys on May 26, 2016, where the respondent
was personally present and was represented by counsel. The
hearing panel determined that respondent violated KRPC 8.2(b)
(2017 Kan. S.Ct. R. 377) (lawyer candidate for judicial
office shall comply with applicable provisions of code of
judicial conduct); Kansas Code of Judicial Conduct Rule
4.1(A)(4) (2017 Kan. S.Ct. R. 458) (knowingly making any
false or misleading statement); and KRPC 8.4(c) (2017 Kan.
S.Ct. R. 379) (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty,
fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation).
conclusion of the hearing, the panel made the following
findings of fact and conclusions of law, together with its
recommendation to this court:
. . . .
"6. On March 20, 2005, while in law school, the
respondent was stopped by a Lansing, Michigan, police
officer. The officer described the stop as follows:
'Reason for Contact:
On 03/20/2005 at approx. 03:33 Hrs. I was on road patrol in a
fully marked patrol vehicle. I was Southbound on Washington
near Kalamazoo. I observed the accused near the closed
business in the 400 block of S. Washington. The accused saw
me and started to walk South on Washington. The accused had
on a black knit hat and sunglasses. The accused took off his
sunglasses and put them in his pocket. The accused looked
back and began to walk faster. I pulled up behind the accused
and honked my horn. The accused looked back and kept walking.
I finally opened my vehicle door and told the accused to stop
walking. The accused stopped walking.
'Terry Pat Down:
The accused put his hands in his pockets as I was approaching
so I had him take his hands out of his pockets, and turn
around. I conducted a Terry Pat Down and during my pat down I
asked the accused if he had any weapons on him or anything
illegal. The accused stated "No." I asked the
accused if he minded if I checked. The accused stated
"Yes, I mind." During my pat down of the
accused's right front jacket pocket I felt something that
I thought was a box cutter. I asked the accused what it was
in his pocket for my safety. The accused stated "Its
[sic] drugs. Its marijuana."
'Discovery Of Marijuana:
At that point I placed the accused in handcuffs and conducted
a search of the accused. I found a green leafy substance in a
plastic sandwich bag that is consistent with marijuana and a
pack of zig zags in the accused's right front jacket
pocket. The pack of zig zags is what I thought was the box
'Officers [sic] Actions:
I identified the accused and released him.'
Later, the respondent retained an attorney to defend him in
the event he was charged with a crime as a result of the
"7. After graduating from law school, the respondent
relocated to Olathe, Kansas.
"8. Unbeknownst to the respondent, on July 1, 2005, the
Ingham County, Michigan, prosecutor filed a complaint,
charging the respondent with one count of misdemeanor
possession of marijuana. A warrant for the respondent's
arrest was issued that day.
"9. In November 2005, the respondent filed his petition
for admission to the bar of the State of Kansas. According to
the respondent, while the respondent's application was
pending, the respondent's attorney sent the respondent a
letter. In the letter, the respondent's attorney informed
the respondent that no charges had been filed and the
attorney was closing the matter. The respondent cannot recall
the name of the attorney and did not retain a copy of the
letter. The respondent took the Kansas bar examination in
"10. In 2014, the respondent ran for a district court
judge position in the Sixteenth Judicial District of Kansas.
The respondent faced competition in the Republican primary.
The election was scheduled for August 4, 2014.
"11. On July 15, 2014, a Dodge City Daily Globe reporter
contacted the respondent and told him that an anonymous
source had informed the newspaper that the respondent had an
outstanding arrest warrant in Ingham County, Michigan.
"12. On July 17, 2014, the respondent forwarded a letter
to the disciplinary administrator. The letter provided:
'I, Michael Giardine, an attorney in good standing,
licensed to practice law in the State of Kansas, write this
letter pursuant to Rule 226 of the Kansas Rules of
Professional Conduct, Section 8.3, and the continuing
obligation to update my Kansas Bar Association application
within five (5) days of any change, inform the appropriate
authority of the following and: [sic]
'On July 15, 2014, I was notified by a member of the
local media that information had been provided to the Dodge
City Daily Globe under the condition of anonymity that a
bench warrant for my arrest was issued and outstanding in
Ingham County, Michigan. Up to that point, I had no knowledge
of the warrant or complaint filed against me. I had never
been served with a ticket, notice to appear, arrested,
booked, fingerprinted, photographed or informed of this
'A copy of the warrant was emailed to me showing the
charge as Possession of Marijuana, with the day of offense
listed as March 20, 2005. The summons shows it was issued on
July 1, 2005. The warrant shows it was issued on June 28,
2005. At no point was I contacted [sic] any private
investigator, member of the local bar association or legal
'I have retained counsel in Lansing, Michigan to defend
this matter and will cooperate with your office as required
"13. On July 21, 2014, the respondent appeared in a
Michigan district court and entered a plea of guilty to one
count of disorderly conduct in exchange for a dismissal of
the possession of marijuana charge.
"14. On July 22, 2014, the respondent falsely stated, to
a Dodge City Daily Globe reporter, that he was not the person
stopped during the March 20, 2005, incident. The respondent
stated that his identification had been stolen a short time
before the incident. The article provided:
'A nine-year-old charge for misdemeanor possession of
marijuana and an associated warrant for the arrest of 16th
Judicial District candidate Michael J. Giardine were
dismissed, Monday, during a trip to Michigan to clear his
name of the crime he said he did not know about or commit.
. . . .
'Giardine said he was not the person stopped during the
March 20, 2005, incident in Lansing and that his Michigan
resident identification card had been stolen before that
The respondent's statements to the Dodge City Daily Globe
reporter were published on the Dodge City Daily Globe's
website and republished by the Associated Press and the
"15. On July 23, 2014, while speaking at a judicial
candidate forum, the respondent publicly misrepresented that
he was not the individual stopped during the March 20, 2005,
"16. On July 24, 2014, the respondent posted in the
Dodge City dodgeboard.com, an online forum. The
respondent's post ...