Court Opinions: PDJ Suspends Attorney After Felony Conviction for Attempting to Influence a Public Servant

Editor’s Note: Law Week Colorado edits court opinion summaries for style and, when necessary, length.

People v. George L. Farmer

This reciprocal discipline case arose out of discipline imposed on George Farmer in Maryland. On July 10, 2023, the Supreme Court of Maryland indefinitely suspended Farmer, who isn’t licensed to practice law in that state. 

Farmer’s Maryland discipline was based on his representation of two clients — both Maryland residents — with conflicting interests; charging one of the clients an unreasonable fee; filing a frivolous action in federal court against that same client’s agent, a Maryland lawyer serving as co-trustee of the client’s trust; engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in Maryland; and violating the Maryland Attorneys’ Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge entered summary judgment, issued an opinion addressing the appropriate sanction to impose as reciprocal discipline, and suspended Farmer from the practice of law in Colorado for one year and one day, effective July 11. 

If Farmer wants to reinstate his Colorado law license, he must prove by clear and convincing evidence that he has been rehabilitated, has complied with all disciplinary orders and rules and is fit to practice law. He also must first be reinstated in Maryland, which also requires Farmer to petition to reinstate unless he shows good cause otherwise. Should Maryland reinstate Farmer before the full term of his suspension in Colorado runs, he may seek to reinstate in Colorado at that time.

People v. Holden Chadwick

In December 2023, Holden Chadwick was convicted in Mesa County District Court of first-degree official misconduct, a class 1 misdemeanor; two counts of attempting to influence a public servant, a class 4 felony; and false reporting to authorities, a class 2 misdemeanor. 

The 7th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, acting as a special prosecutor appointed by the court, brought the charges against Chadwick. Chadwick was sentenced to 90 days of jail, all suspended on his successful completion of a three-year period of probation with conditions including a mental health evaluation, public service, completion of a continuing legal education course and a $2,000 donation to a nonprofit organization.

Chadwick’s conviction was predicated on his conduct in 2023, when Chadwick worked as a prosecutor in the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office. That January, Chadwick contacted the Boulder District Attorney’s Office from his official email account and asked if that office was investigating an individual. The individual was Chadwick’s personal friend, who had sought Chadwick’s help in determining whether he was being investigated in relation to sexual assault allegations. In his email, Chadwick misrepresented that the individual was a potential witness and victim in one of Chadwick’s cases. 

Chadwick made a similar inquiry and misrepresentation to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office. In his communications, Chadwick requested confidential law enforcement information concerning open investigations into the individual. When an investigator for the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office approached Chadwick about the inquiries, Chadwick misrepresented the individual as a possible witness in a hit-and-run case and that the defense attorney in the case had identified the individual as a possible defense witness.

Chadwick ultimately informed the individual that neither agency had a current investigation into him and advised him, “[i]f anyone asks you’re the potential witness/victim in my case.”

The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved Chadwick’s stipulation to discipline and suspended him for three years, effective June 7.

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