Rule 11-531. Proceedings before Committee andscreening panels.
(a) Review. Screeningpanels will review all Complaints the OPC refers to them, including all factsdeveloped in the Complaint, the answer, the contents of the file, and thehearing, and including the OPC?s recommendations.
(b) OPC?s summary andNotice of additional alleged violations. Before any screening panelhearing, the OPC may file with the clerk and serve on the Respondent a summaryof its investigation. If the OPC has determined, afterserving Respondent with the Notice, that the Respondent may have violated anyadditional Rules of Professional Conduct or Licensed Paralegal PractitionerRules of Professional Conduct, then the summary must identify withparticularity all such additional alleged violations. The summary willserve as Notice of any additional violations the OPC did not previously charge.If the OPC provides a summary to the screening panel, the OPC must also providethe summary to the Respondent. If the OPC alleges additional rule violations inthe summary, the summary must be served on the Respondent at least 14 days beforethe hearing. In cases where a judicial officer has not addressed or reported aRespondent?s alleged misconduct, the screening panel may not consider thisinaction to be evidence either that misconduct has occurred or has notoccurred.
(c) Respondent?s appearance.The screening panel must, with at least 28 days? notice, afford the Respondentan opportunity to appear before the screening panel before taking any actionthat may result in recommending an admonition or public reprimand, or the OPC?sfiling of an Action. Respondent and any witnesses the Respondent calls maytestify, and Respondent may present oral argument with respect to theComplaint.
(d) Respondent?s brief. Respondentmay submit a written brief to the screening panel and serve a copy on the OPCat least 7 days before the hearing, which may not exceed 10 pages unless thepanel chair or vice chair allows an extension for good cause. The OPC willforward a copy of the brief to the Complainant.
(e) Complainant?sappearance. A Complainant has the right to appear before the screeningpanel personally and may testify, together with any witnesses the Complainantcalls.
(f) Right to hear evidence;cross-examination. The Complainant and Respondent have the right to bepresent during presentation of evidence unless excluded by the screening panelchair for good cause. Respondent may be represented by counsel, and Complainantmay be represented by counsel or another representative. Either Complainant orRespondent may request that the panel chair seek responses or pose questions tothe other party at the hearing. Direct cross-examination will ordinarily not bepermitted unless, upon request, the panel chair deems that it would materiallyassist the panel in its deliberations.
(g) Rule violations not chargedby the OPC. During the screening panel hearing, but not after, the panelmay find that rule violations have occurred not previously charged by the OPC.If so, the screening panel will give Respondent a reasonable opportunity torespond during the hearing. The Respondent may address the additional chargesat the hearing and may file with the Committee clerk and serve on the OPCwithin two business days of the hearing a written response to the new chargesalong with supplemental materials related to the new charges. Before making adetermination or recommendation, the response and any supplemental materialsmust be reviewed and considered by the panel members present at the originalhearing.
(h) Hearing record. Theproceedings of any screening panel hearing under this rule will be recorded atan audio quality level that permits an accurate transcription of theproceedings. The clerk will assemble and deliver to the Committee chair acomplete record of the proceedings upon the panel?s determination or recommendationto the Committee chair. The record of the proceedings before the panel must bepreserved for at least one year after delivery of the panel?s determination orrecommendation to the Committee chair and for such additional time as anyfurther proceedings on the matter are pending or might be instituted under thisrule.
(i) Screening paneldetermination or recommendation. After reviewing all the facts developed bythe Complaint, answer, investigation, and hearing, the screening panel willmake one of the following determinations or recommendations:
(1) Thepreponderance of evidence does not establish that the Respondent engaged inmisconduct, in which case the screening panel will dismiss the Complaint. Aletter of caution may also be issued with the dismissal. The letter must besigned by the screening panel chair or vice chair and will serve as a guide forthe future conduct of the Respondent. The Complainant will be confidentiallynotified of the caution;
(2) TheComplaint must be referred to the Professionalism and Civility Counseling Boardestablished under Rule 14-303;
(3) TheComplaint must be referred to the Committee chair with an accompanying screeningpanel recommendation that the Respondent be admonished;
(4) TheComplaint must be referred to the Committee chair with an accompanyingscreening panel recommendation that the Respondent receive a public reprimand;
(5) TheOPC must file an Action against the Respondent if the panel finds probablecause to believe there are grounds for public discipline that merit an Action;or
(6) TheOPC must file an Action if the panel finds misconduct and the misconduct issimilar to the misconduct alleged in an Action against the Respondent that hasbeen recommended by a screening panel or is pending in district court at thetime of the hearing.
(j) Aggravation andmitigation. The Respondent and the OPC may present evidence and argument asto mitigating and aggravating circumstances during the screening panel hearing,but this evidence will not be considered unless the panel has determined theRespondent engaged in misconduct.
(k) Multiple casesinvolving the same Respondent. More than one case involving the sameRespondent may be scheduled before the same panel, but in determining whether arule has been violated in one case, only the factual allegations in that casemay be considered.
(l) Recommendation ofadmonition or public reprimand. A screening panel recommendation that theRespondent be disciplined under paragraph (i)(3) or (i)(4) must be in writingand state the substance and nature of the Complaint and defenses and the basisupon which the screening panel has concluded, by a preponderance of the evidence,that the Respondent be admonished or publicly reprimanded. The screening panelmust deliver copies of the recommendation to the Committee chair, Respondent,and the OPC.
Effective December 15, 2020