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In re Cure

Supreme Court of Kansas

May 10, 2019

In the Matter of Kevin T. Cure, Respondent.

          Original proceeding in discipline.

          Matthew J. Vogelsberg, Deputy Disciplinary Administrator, argued the cause, and Stanton A. Hazlett, Disciplinary Administrator, was with him on the formal complaint for the petitioner.

          Stephen B. Angermayer, of Fern & Angermayer, L.L.C., of Pittsburg, argued the cause, and Kevin T. Cure, respondent, argued the cause pro se.

          PER CURIAM.

         This is an original proceeding in discipline filed by the office of the Disciplinary Administrator against the respondent, Kevin T. Cure, of Joplin, Missouri, an attorney admitted to the practice of law in Kansas in 1991.

         On July 31, 2018, 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 did not file an answer; he filed a proposed probation plan on September 7, 2018. A joint stipulation signed by respondent and the office of the Disciplinary Administrator was filed September 18, 2018. A hearing was held on the complaint before a panel of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys on September 21, 2018, where the respondent was personally present and represented by counsel. The hearing panel determined that respondent violated KRPC 8.4(b) (2019 Kan. S.Ct. R. 387) (commission of a criminal act reflecting adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer); 8.4(d) (misconduct prejudicial to the administration of justice); 8.4(g) (misconduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer's fitness to practice law); and Supreme Court Rule 203(c)(1) (2019 Kan. S.Ct. R. 240) (failure to report felony charge).

         Upon conclusion of the hearing, the panel made the following findings of fact and conclusions of law, together with its recommendation to this court:

"Findings of Fact
"9. The Missouri Supreme Court admitted the respondent to the practice of law in the State of Missouri in October, 1990. The Kansas Supreme Court admitted the respondent to the practice of law in the State of Kansas in April, 1991.
"10. In 2014, the respondent was arrested for driving while intoxicated. On September 18, 2014, the respondent entered a plea of guilty, the court suspended the imposition of the sentence, and the court placed the respondent on probation.
"11. In 2016, the respondent served as the city attorney for Galena, Kansas.
"12. On March 11, 2016, the respondent was scheduled to appear in municipal court as the municipal prosecutor. The respondent drove to the courthouse while intoxicated. The municipal court judge, a defense attorney, the mayor, and the police chief all witnessed the respondent's demeanor and concluded he was intoxicated.
"13. After the mayor and the police chief spoke with the respondent, they confirmed that he was impaired. The respondent did not enter the courtroom. Because of the respondent's impairment, he did not appear in court on behalf of the city that day. The mayor drove the respondent back to his home.
"14. The judge and a defense attorney filed disciplinary complaints against respondent for coming to the courthouse intoxicated and for being unable to represent the city in court as scheduled that day.
"15. On March 29, 2016, the respondent was arrested in Joplin, Missouri, for driving while intoxicated. At the time of his arrest, the respondent remained on probation for the 2014 driving while intoxicated conviction.
"16. Following the respondent's March 29, 2016, arrest, the respondent resigned as the Galena city attorney.
"17. On March 30, 2016, with the assistance of KALAP, the respondent entered treatment at Valley Hope.
"18. In the respondent's written response to the complaints filed by the judge and a defense attorney, the respondent admitted to being intoxicated when he arrived at Municipal Court on March 11, 2016. The respondent also acknowledged his March 29, 2016, arrest for driving while intoxicated.
"19. On July 27, 2016, the respondent was arrested in Joplin, Missouri, for driving while intoxicated and driving with a revoked or suspended driver's license. Again, the respondent remained under court supervision for the 2014 driving while intoxicated case at the time of this arrest. Additionally, the respondent was on bond for the March, 2016, arrest.
"20. The respondent was scheduled to appear before Cherokee County District Magistrate Judge Samuel J. Marsh, on behalf of 10 clients on July 28, 2016, for a docket involving juvenile offender and child-in-need-of-care cases. Because the respondent remained incarcerated from his arrest the previous night, the respondent did not appear before Judge Marsh on behalf of his clients.
"21. On August 1, 2016, Judge Marsh forwarded a complaint against the respondent for his failure to appear on behalf of his 10 clients on July 28, 2016. In his letter, Judge Marsh noted that the respondent failed to contact the court to explain the reason for his absence. Judge Marsh, however, was aware of the respondent's July 27, 2016, arrest for driving while intoxicated and assumed that respondent's incarceration was the reason for his failure to appear in court.
"22. On August 11, 2016, the respondent was convicted of driving while intoxicated based on the March 29, 2016, arrest in Joplin, Missouri. The court sentenced the respondent to 30 days in jail, suspended the execution of the sentence, and placed the respondent on probation. As part of the probation order, the court required the respondent to refrain from violating the law.
"23. On September 7, 2016, the respondent entered treatment with Bradford Health Services.
"24. On September 21, 2017, the respondent was arrested for driving while intoxicated in Jasper County, Missouri. Based on respondent's prior history, he was charged as a persistent offender, a class E felony. A persistent offender is defined under Missouri law as a person who has been found guilty of 'two or more intoxication-related offenses committed on separate occasions.' Mo. Rev. State. § 577.001(18)(a). At the time of the respondent's September, 2017, arrest, he was on probation for the conviction stemming from the March, 2016, arrest. Also, the respondent was on bond for the July, 2016, arrest.
"25. Rule 203(a)(1) requires Kansas attorneys to report felony charges to the disciplinary administrator within 14 days. The respondent failed to report the felony ...

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