Did He Try Saying|’April Fools!’ in Latin? | Courthouse News Service
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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Did He Try Saying|’April Fools!’ in Latin?

(CN) - Pretending to be robber on April Fools' Day did not amuse the New Hampshire Supreme Court, which counted the incident among the reasons why it denied an aspiring lawyer admission to the bar.

In addition to the reckless conduct conviction that arose from the practical joke gone awry in 1993, G.W. was convicted of six counts of violating the conditions of a restraining order in 1999, criminal threatening in 2001, and driving while intoxicated in 2004.

Since 1991, G.W. attempted seven times to pass the New Hampshire bar exam. Just before passing the bar in 2008, he reported that his student-loan debt had ballooned from $40,000 to $138,471.

When the court's standing committee on character and fitness questioned G.W. about the charges, G.W. explained that he was writing a book and wanted to see how the clerk would react if he showed her a 6-to-7-inch blade.

"It happened on April Fool's Day," G.W. said, according to the court. "It was a bad joke."

He also tried to explain why he had violated a restraining order against a female complainant.

"I know it sounds fantastic, but she had told me the last time that she was being held in her house, locked up, her keys were being - had been taken, her money was taken, her purse, whatever, so in that sense, I lacked a mens rea because I was trying to see what was going on, to see if she was being held there."

The state Supreme Court took the committee's recommendation to deny G.W.'s application.

"While claiming to take responsibility for his actions, he simultaneously tried to excuse them," Justice Carol Ann Conboy wrote for the court. "For example, he claimed to take full responsibility for allegedly filing a false lis pendens, but in the same letter, he attempted to excuse his conduct by saying he was not trying to falsify the deed and therefore lacked the mens rea for the offense."

"The record reflects an individual with a long history of evading his financial obligations, as well as failing to accept responsibility for the consequences of his poor judgment and criminal behavior," the ruling states. "We see no evidence that, as an attorney, the applicant would conduct himself any differently."

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