The Nevada Supreme Court issued an order late Tuesday temporarily suspending a Las Vegas defense lawyer who pleaded guilty in a high-profile courthouse counseling scheme.
In its two-page order, a three-justice panel said it was referring Brian Bloomfield’s case to a disciplinary panel of the State Bar of Nevada for “the sole issue” of determining what additional professional sanctions to impose.
Justices Kristina Pickering, Ron Parraguirre and Nancy Saitta didn’t buy Bloomfield’s arguments against imposing the suspension.
“We conclude that Bloomfield has failed to demonstrate good cause to set aside the mandatory suspension,” they wrote.
Bar Counsel David Clark, who sought the temporary suspension, said in court papers earlier this month that sanctions could result in Bloomfield’s disbarment.
Bloomfield, 38, a member of the State Bar since 2003, pleaded guilty in District Court six months ago in the sweeping courthouse scheme. He pleaded guilty to felony charges of forgery and offering a false instrument for filing or record and two gross misdemeanors, conspiring to commit a crime and destruction of evidence.
But he still hasn’t been sentenced because he is cooperating with prosecutors against other defendants charged in the scheme, which occurred between February 2008 and May 2010. Prosecutors have to be satisfied with the extent of his cooperation before he can be sentenced. The other defendants aren’t going to trial until February.
While free on bail, Bloomfield has gone through his daily routine at the Regional Justice Center defending clients in criminal cases.
Clark did not not take kindly to Bloomfield’s continued courtroom work.
“Aside from being felony convictions, respondent’s crimes constitute direct fraud upon the court and the complete betrayal of his duties as a sworn officer of the court,” Clark wrote last month. “Respondent’s continued practice before the courts in Nevada is an affront to the public integrity of the legal system and the administration of justice.”
This is the first time Clark has sought a temporary suspension of an attorney before sentencing. He said last month that he pushed to remove Bloomfield from practicing law because of the “long disconnect” between Bloomfield’s guilty plea and his still-uncertain sentencing date.
The criminal case against Bloomfield dates to December 2011, when he, former counseling service owner Steven Brox and juvenile probation officer Robert Chiodini were charged in a 52-count indictment.
They were accused of providing prostitutes and other defendants with phony certificates of completion for court-ordered counseling and community service to resolve misdemeanor cases in Las Vegas Justice Court.
Weeks later, Bloomfield’s wife Amber McDearmon and former bail bondsman Thomas Jaskol were charged in a superseding indictment that included new allegations they conspired with Bloomfield to destroy evidence.
McDearmon escaped prison time last week after she pleaded guilty in the scheme.
McDearmon, 30, a felon, pleaded guilty before Senior District Judge Lee Gates to one gross misdemeanor charge of destruction of evidence. She was immediately sentenced to credit for time served — one day she spent at the Clark County Detention Center after her original arrest in 2012.
Other felony and gross misdemeanor charges against her in the scheme were dismissed, and she was not placed on probation, leaving her free of the court’s jurisdiction.
Her plea agreement, however, calls for her to cooperate with prosecutors against two of the remaining defendants in the long-running criminal case.
Contact reporter Jeff German at email@example.com or 702-380-8135. Find him on Twitter: @JGermanRJ.