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On March 14, 2013, in this Court, Bar Counsel filed a “Petition for Disciplinary or Remedial Action” against Greenleaf, charging him with violating Maryland Lawyers' Rule of Professional Conduct (“MLRPC”) 8.4 (Misconduct).
On March 18, 2013, this Court assigned this attorney discipline proceeding to the Honorable Paul M.
In addition to excepting to certain findings of fact, in an apparent attempt to establish mitigating circumstances, Greenleaf alleges additional facts: (1) he performed well as the Chief Deputy Clerk of the Court of Special Appeals; (2) at the time of his misconduct, he had just returned from sick leave, and was “trouble[ed]” at work because he had been transferred to a secluded office that was away from other employees; (3) he completed “mental health counseling” as a condition of probation; (4) he “suffered ignominy” because of his misconduct; and (5) he “has shown remorse” for his misconduct.
The hearing judge did not find that Greenleaf: (1) performed well as the Chief Deputy Clerk of the Court of Special Appeals; (2) suffered from any personal or emotional problems; (3) attempted any kind of rehabilitation; (4) endured any embarrassment; or (5) showed any remorse.
On nearly half of those dates, Greenleaf used his computer at the Robert C.
Murphy Courts of Appeal Building to communicate with “Beth.”Greenleaf's and “Beth's” conversations were “consistently sexually explicit.” For example, Greenleaf asked “Beth” to describe her pubic hair, sexual history, bra size, and whether she was taking birth control.
Greenleaf last communicated with “Beth” on January 25, 2011.
Although Greenleaf told “Beth” that he thought she was a woman in her thirties, the hearing judge credited DS Yamin's opinion that Greenleaf made the statement as part of his grooming “Beth” for sexual activity, not because Greenleaf actually believed that “Beth” was a woman in her thirties.
On April 1, 2011, Greenleaf was permitted to retire from his position as the Chief Deputy Clerk of the Court of Special Appeals. Vol .) (“CR”) § 11–203 (Sale or Display of Obscene Item to Minor). STANDARD OF REVIEWIn an attorney discipline proceeding, this Court reviews for clear error the hearing judge's findings of fact, and reviews without deference the hearing judge's conclusions of law. This Court determines whether clear and convincing evidence establishes that a lawyer violated the MLRPC. Greenleaf excepts to the hearing judge's finding that he believed that “Beth” was a fourteen-year-old or a fifteen-year-old girl.
On May 31, 2012, Greenleaf tendered an Alford plea to a charge of attempting to violate Md. We overrule Greenleaf's exception, as the hearing judge did not clearly err, or err at all, in finding that Greenleaf believed that “Beth” was a fourteen-year-old or a fifteen-year-old girl.
On January 6, 2004, Greenleaf became the Chief Deputy Clerk of the Court of Special Appeals. DS Yamin had a Yahoo Messenger account with the username “ravens_ girl2003,” which was connected to a Yahoo profile for a female named “Beth.” On March 8, 2010, as “Beth,” DS Yamin entered a Yahoo Messenger chat room entitled “Maryland Romance.” In the chat room, a person with the username “delmarvan19901” initiated a private chat with “Beth,” who almost immediately sent the message “14/f/balto.
md[,]” which is Internet language for identifying oneself as a fourteen-year-old female in the Baltimore area. “Beth” sent “delmarvan19901” two photographs that depicted a young teenage girl. In addition to sending the two photographs, “Beth” e-mailed “delmarvan19901,” who sent a reply e-mail.
Given the nature of Greenleaf's proffer and testimony—i .e., he performed well at work, he was in a secluded office, and he suffered embarrassment—it is evident that the hearing judge did not find this information to be mitigating.