Bomb Threats and Secrecy – How the Overseers Handle Discipline of Lawyers

Recently, there have been two lawyers who have faced significant complaints before the Overseers of the Bar. We ask: Did the bar provide the oversight and management that the public expects?

One of the lawyers,  Ron Hoffman, was brought before the board because he called in two bomb threats to Academy Hill and G.D. Cushing elementary schools within two minutes of each other and saying that “there is a bomb in your school!”. The calls resulted in the evacuation of over 350 children and worried countless teachers and parents as a result. The calls produced anger and confusion amongst both children and adults in the community as school officials testified.
Ron Hoffman had lied to the police when confronted about the bomb threat calls. Your average person on the street calling in a bomb threat would find themselves incarcerated and facing the loss of a job. Ron Hoffman told the board that there were medical conditions he was suffering from, and that the treatment from his doctors was not proper. It was bad medical treatment; not his bad judgment that caused the alarming behavior. The board felt that Ron’s newly revised regimen of counseling and medications should allow him to continue practicing law.

Another lawyer, Charles Bean Esq, has been before the board four times in nine years. The first time before the board was back in 2006. Then again in 2006, 2011 and finally in 2013. In 2013 the board appears to have had enough and ordered that his resignation be given to Justice Andrew Mead. There is no public reason given why Bean resigned. The records are sealed and will only be made public should Bean decide he should seek reinstatement to the Bar.  Yes, “Reinstatement to the Bar” he may still return to serve the public at some future time.

If one visits the Overseers of the bar web site and searches for the latest on Charles R. Bean, Esq. one can find his case dated October 29, 2013. Clicking the link brings the reader to a very brief background on Charles Bean Esq. Then refers to Maine Bar 7.3(g) which is “Disciplinary Proceedings: Other Provisions” and subsection refers to “Resignations by Attorneys Under Disciplinary Investigation”. Basically what Maine Bar 7.3(g) says is that the lawyer is guilty of the crimes he has been accused of doing. It does not go into other areas where the lawyer may have violated the Maine Bar Rules. We are left with the feeling that what Charles Bean Esq. has done must truly be horrendous. Compare THIS  to the relative slap on the wrist that Ron Hoffman Esq received for calling in a bomb threat.

Is the Overseers of the Bar, as a private not for profit organization, able to police those they are entrusted to license and provide oversight for? Can they hand out a fair and equitable disciplinary action that is in the public interest Think about this – in these two cases has the legal standard of Maine lawyers been improved by this process? What about those who complained about these two lawyers – are they pleased by the outcome?

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Further reading: Is this Really Oversight? How the Overseers of the Bar Operates.