The Idaho Supreme Court has ruled that former Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujak - the current Libertarian candidate for governor - violated four of the Idaho State Bar's ethics rules between 2004 and 2011, the Idaho Press-Tribune reported today. The high court ordered a one-year suspension of Bujak's law license for the violations, but since he already had a 19-month interim suspension when the complaint was filed three years ago, the terms of that penalty already are satisfied and Bujak can continue to practice law.
Bujak told the newspaper the ruling was the "last chapter" in a long-running legal case in which he was charged with grand theft by unauthorized control; he gave up his law license pending the resolution of that case, and got it back after his acquittal. "It's been sitting at the Supreme Court since March, presumably under review — I don't know what took them so long review it," Bujak told Press-Tribune reporter John Funk. "It's just the case finally winding through the other leg of the process."
The original bar complaint was filed against Bujak in October of 2011, charging that he'd failed to properly deposit checks intended for a client's estate in 2008; and that he'd convinced an elderly client to name himself and his assistant as the beneficiaries to the client's will. Funk reported that another attorney later voided the will, and the client said Bujak convinced her that he and his assistant should be listed as beneficiaries for her protection, but that that could be changed later; he was acquitted of criminal charges in the case in January of 2013. The Press-Tribune's full report is online here; click below for an AP version.
Idaho Supreme Court rules Bujak broke ethics rules
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Supreme Court has ruled that Libertarian gubernatorial candidate and former Canyon County prosecutor John Bujak violated four of the Idaho State Bar's ethics rules between 2004 and 2011.
According to the Idaho Press-Tribune (http://bit.ly/1sNcufr ), the court ordered that Bujak's law license be suspended for one year but because he already underwent a 19-month interim suspension three years ago, the penalty has been satisfied.
The court found Bujak violated rules about communication, safekeeping of property, conflict of interest and conduct prejudicial to the amendment of justice.
The case arose after complaints were filed accusing Bujak of failing to deposit checks intended for a client's estate and convincing an elderly client to name him and his assistant as her beneficiary. Another attorney later voided the will for the elderly woman in 2011.
Bujak was found not guilty of the charges in a 2013 criminal case.
However, Idaho State Bar counsel Brad Andrews said that other accusations are still under investigation.
"It's kind of an anomaly of how suspensions work," Andrews said.
The order is part one of five court trials in recent years involving Bujak.
In the previous trials, all in state court, Bujak was acquitted by three juries and two couldn't reach verdicts. Three of those trials related to allegations that Bujak took money from public funds while serving as Canyon County's prosecutor in 2009 and 2010. The other concerned a bankruptcy fraud charge.
Bujak described the order as the "last chapter" in the grand theft charge.
"It's been sitting at the Supreme Court since March, presumably under review — I don't know what took them so long review it — but this is (its) final decision accepting the stipulation between bar counsel and me," Bujak said. "It doesn't affect my ability to practice law. It's just the case finally winding through the other leg of the process."
Information from: Idaho Press-Tribune, http://www.idahopress.com
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press