Marc Perkel tries for Justice
The battle for justice continues. Does the Missouri Bar and the Missouri Supreme Court enforce ethics against it's own members? Quite frankly I think they probably don't. To say the least, I'm skecptical. I think the Missouri Bar is there to create the illusion of justice so they can appear as if they are enforcing ethics among lawyers.
William A. Wear Jr. and James R. Sharp are attorneys of the law firm Wear and Sharp located in Springfield Missouri. These lawyer committed serious violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct. I have filed the following complaint with the Missouri Bar. But I don't trust the Missouri Bar and the Missouri Supreme Court so I'm publishing it here on the internet as well. I want the world to know what these mother fuckers did to me in my 4 year long Divorce.
These lawyers are no more than common theives. They are a disgrace to the legal profession. These are the kind of lawyers who make the public hate lawyers. These are the kind of lawyers that disgrace the Missouri Bar. These are the kind of lawyers that bring shame on the American Ju$tice Sy$tem.
For lawyers who are reading this, I encourage you to write to the Missouri Bar and encourage them to enforce ethical conduct. These lawyers are bad for good lawyers who are trying to make a ligitimate living practicing law and is tired for being hated by the public because lawyers like Wear and Sharp are giving them a bad name.
William A. Wear Jr. -Mo. Bar #23292
James R. Sharp -Mo. Bar #35498
The foregoing complaints arose originally in my divorce suit and continue through my civil suit for fraud upon the court. I have irrefutable evidence from the face of the record, of gross violations of the rules of professional conduct as well as criminal conduct. This conduct includes all of the following:
Pursuant to Rule 5.13 of the Missouri Rules of Court it is the responsibility of the Missouri Bar to investigate complaints in order to uphold the honesty and integrity of the bar. The complaints herein are very significant and represent a pattern of abuse that reflects poorly on the integrity of all lawyers who may be judged by the conduct of these two lawyers.
Ultimately though it is the responsibility of the Supreme Court of Missouri to enforce the ethical standards of lawyers. Thus, if the Chief Disciplinary Counsel wonít do it, the responsibility falls on justices of the Supreme Court.
Specifically, Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp have violated the following Rules of Professional conduct:
Rule 1.15 (b), (c)
Rule 1.5 (d1)
Rule 1.7 (a), (b)
Rule 1.9 (a)
Rule 3.3 (a1, 2, 4), (c)
Rule 3.4 (b), (e)
Rule 3.7 (a)
Rule 4.1 (a), (b)
Rule 8.3 (b)
Rule 8.4 (a), (b), (c), (d), (f)
Defining the Players
I am Marc Perkel, the husband in the divorce proceeding, and the plaintiff in the fraud suit. Vicki Stringfellow is the ex-wife and a defendant in the fraud suit. Mr. Wear, Mr. Sharp and the law firm of Wear and Sharp were the wifeís lawyers in the divorce and are also defendants in the fraud lawsuit.
In September of 1994 the wife retained Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp and filed for divorce. Shortly thereafter, Judge Winston Davis granted the husband a restraining order to keep the wife out of the husbandís corporate offices (Computer Tyme Inc.).
On December 15th 1994 there was a hearing for separate maintenance, which was attended by only the lawyers and the judge. At that hearing the judge, Winston Davis, made an unusual decision giving my wife access to my corporate office and computer network in order for her to produce a flyer for an event called the "World Peace Meditation" where Mr. Wear was the featured speaker.
Upon learning that the court ordered the husbandís company to pay for and give the wife access to the corporate computers for the personal benefit of the wifeís lawyers, the husband fired his lawyer, Mike Greene, and asked for a new maintenance hearing where he could testify personally. Mr. Greene gave the husband his file and upon examining it the husband noticed that on the wifeís attorneyís letterhead that a lawyer, Evilyn Gwin, was a member of the law firm with Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp.
The husband saw Mr. Sharp at the court house the next day and pointed out to him that Ms. Gwin had a pending law suit against the husbandís company, Computer Tyme Inc. for $100,000 and inquired if this wasn't a conflict of interest since both Gwin's client and the wife were going after the same assets. Mr. Sharp responded in a letter that it was not a conflict because Computer Tyme was 100% the property of the husband. However, at trial he would claim that Computer Tyme was 50% owned by the wife.
The husband replied to Mr. Sharp's letter by fax thanking him for admitting the company was 100% his. Shortly thereafter Mr. Wear telephoned the husband and cussed him out declaring that he was "going to drag my butt down there and depose me". Later that day Mr. Sharp showed up at Computer Tyme to personally serve the husband with a notice of deposition.
The next day the husband filed his objections to the deposition pursuant to Rule 61.01(a) and awaited a hearing. Not hearing anything from the court he faxed a letter to the judge and Mr. Sharp indicating that he believed the deposition to be cancelled until the objections could be heard by the court. He asked in the letter that he be informed if this was in fact not the case. He received no response from the court or Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp.
On the morning of January 4th 1995 at 8:45 the husband called the offices of Wear and Sharp to inquire about the deposition. The secretary who answered the phone said that there was no deposition scheduled.
Later that day Mr. Sharp filed a motion in family court asking the court to sanction the husband for not attending the deposition. At the hearing on January 12th 1995 Mr. Sharp convinced the court that the husband had failed to appear for a deposition when in fact there was no deposition. Mr. Sharp was in fact lying to the court to get sanctions against the husband for failing to attend a deposition that never took place. Because Mr. Sharp is an officer of the court and was known by the commissioner, the court believed Mr. Sharp and sanctioned the husband. Mr. Sharp would later admit through is attorney, Donald Duncan that he knew the husband believed that the deposition was cancelled. They would then claim that they had no duty to inform the husband as to whether the deposition was cancelled or not. However, local rules state otherwise.
Mr. Sharp and Mr. Wear seems to feel that it's OK to conceal a deposition (if there even was a deposition) and lie to the court by about it. It seems Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp are arguing that they have a right to be deceitful and dishonest. However, lying to the court to sanction the husband for not attending a deposition that never took place is a serious violation of ethical conduct. It's fraud. It's tampering with the administration of justice. It's unethical. It's deceitful. It's just plain wrong. And it would be a travesty for the Missouri Bar to tolerate this kind of behavior.
With a sanction by the court on the husbandís record Mr. Wear appeared representing the wife at the second hearing for temporary maintenance on February 4th of 1995. At that hearing he and the wife conspired to produce fraudulent documents indicating that she was only making $400 per month plus $125 in SSI benefits. The wife was making much more than $400 per month and the SSI benefits were $363 per month. Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp were aware of and participated in the fabrication of the false documents presented to the court to mislead the judge as to the true amount of the wifeís income. Mr. Wear in his closing arguments told the court that the husband "cleared $10,000 per month in spite of the fact that Mr. Wear had the husbandís tax returns and knew that this wasnít true. Based on these arguments the husband was forced to pay the wife over $2500 a month in direct payments, land payment, insurance, and other expenses.
During this time Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp were inflating their legal bills. Most every hearing was attended by at least two lawyers, sometimes three lawyers. Then they would have interoffice meetings to discuss the case with as many as five lawyers actively involved, all of them billing the wife with the expectation that the husband would eventually have to pay the bill. In fact the billing got so outrageous that the wife demanded and got a $1500 reduction in the bill because even she knew her lawyers grossly inflated it.
In June of that year the husbandís yearly SBA loan renewal (for Computer Tyme) was due. It required the signature of the wife. She agreed at first to sign it but when the note became due she refused. The husband was forced to pay off the $16,000 note, which he paid $10,000, and got a 4-month unsecured loan from the bank for the balance.
Because of the failure of the wife to sign the loan, as she had done in previous years, the husband was unable to stay current on the excessive maintenance. Having devastated his cash flow they would now start garnishing his checking account. They even did this before the payment was due. This not only gave them opportunity to run up their bill, and my legal bills as well, it gave them the argument that the husband was defying a court order so they could paint me as a "bad boy" at trial. And they used this argument to get more money for the wife and to get a judgement against the husband for their legal fees.
Unable to make all these payments and afford a lawyer, who was costing the husband $1000 per month, the husband went back to representing himself pro se. Mr. Wear made a motion and asked the court for the husband pay their "expert accountant" $3500 to evaluate what the husbandís company was worth. The court ordered the husband to do so. The husband paid the money, yet the accountant never called nor made any requests to see the corporate records.
Upon making his evaluation, the accountant concluded Computer Tyme was worth far less than the wife had hoped for. He evaluated the business at $40,000 to $60,000 and said he had used only $1500 of the $3500 the husband paid. The husband asked for a refund, but Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp pocketed the $2000 balance.
During the entire time the husband made many attempts to settle this divorce. However these lawyers don't make as much money to settle and never made any serious attempt to do so. They always wanted more than 100% of everything the husband had.
At trial the lawyers conspired with the wife to create false documents indicating the husband had a net worth of 10 times what he really had. (About 1.2 million dollars) By generating such a high figure the strategy was that even if the judge believed 20% of their lies they still get 100% of everything the husband owns. These lawyers knew that the evidence they presented to the court was fraudulent, yet and assisted the wife to proffer the false evidence at trial.
They also brought in friend of the wife who did about a weekís worth of temporary work at Computer Tyme and got her to pose as a full time employee. The wifeís friend falsely claimed she worked for Computer Tyme for six months. She then testified falsely about the internal workings of the company.
As a result of their unethical behavior they obtained a judgement in excess of everything the husband owned which included a total of $15,000 of legal fees. A lawyer, Dan Imhof, at trial represented the husband. Mr. Imhof filed a motion to reconsider. A hearing was scheduled for October 29th 1996.
A judgement isn't final until the motion to reconsider is ruled on. However, in spite of this, Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp filed the divorce decree against the husbandís property in Fair Grove on September 25th 1996 in order to transfer the deed to the wife before judgement was final. Transfer of property in this manner before final judgement is illegal.
After the judge refused to reconsider on November 18th 1996, the husband filed my notice of appeal. The husband had fired his third attorney and was again pro se. The husband figured he didn't need a lawyer if having a lawyer got a judgement against him for more that 100% of his assets. He could do that badly on his own. The husband proceeded to study law to make his own case.
Shortly thereafter, on January 15th 1997 the husband filed an independent action in equity based on Rule 74.06 (b) for fraud upon the court. In this suit the husband named Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp as defendants as well as the wife because the lawyers were actively involved in committing the fraud.
However, even though they were codefendants, Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp entered an appearance to represent the wife. This is obviously a conflict of interest. The suit accuses them of fraud upon the court and conspiracy to defraud the court and well as criminal offenses that the husband alleged they committed in a conspiracy with the wife.
Because of the nature of the suit and Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp being local lawyers practicing law before the local judges, every local judge recused themselves. This caused the Supreme Court to have to appoint a special judge, Honorable William Syler.
The husbandís corporation, Computer Tyme Inc., is owed money by Computer Services of West Plains. Knowing that the money is not owed to me personally, Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp garnished this note. Not knowing what to do Computer Services paid the money to the circuit court who turned it over to Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp. However, in the interrogatories when asked if they owe money to Marc Perkel they answered NO. Did Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp give the money to Computer Tyme Inc.? No, they kept the money for themselves. This garnishment is illegal.
Standard of Review
In Re: Kenneth Joseph Downs, an Attorney 1963. MO. 15 it was held that "There is no inherent right to continue in the practice of law, but rather it is a mere privilege which will be withdrawn when one proves himself unfit." And it goes on to say that "the primary and ultimate purpose of disciplinary proceedings is to protect the public, the integrity of the Bar, and the courts, from the practice of law by persons unfit to serve as members of the Bar, - and that the courts have "a solemn duty to the public and to the legal profession to enforce the code of ethics governing the conduct of attorneys."
The court system is referred to as "The Justice System" and in order to have justice you have to have honesty. In the Matter of Stephen W. Mendell, Respondent. 1985.MO.685 held: "Honesty, however, is an all important quality for an attorney." Disbarment is therefore appropriate to protect the integrity of the judicial system from lawyers who would commit fraud upon the court.
In Hazel-Atlas Glass v. Hartford Empire Co. 322 U.S. 238 64 S.Ct. 997, 1000, 88 L. Ed 1250 the United States supreme court held that fraud can not be complacently tolerated consistent with the good order of society and that the courts should take an active role to preserve the integrity of the judicial process.
The Missouri Rules of Court support the contention that lawyers should not lie to the judge. Rule 3.3 "Candor toward the Tribunal" states: "Legal argument based on a knowingly false representation of law constitutes dishonesty towards the tribunal." Rule 4.1 "Truthfulness in statements to others" states: In the course of representing a client a lawyer shall not knowingly: (a) make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person; or (b) fail to disclose a material fact to a third person when disclosure is necessary to avoid a criminal or fraudulent act by a client..."
In this case you have a situation where the husband wrote to the wifeís lawyers and said he believed the deposition to be cancelled and to be informed if he was wrong. The lawyers have admitted that they got this message and decided that even though they knew the deposition was not canceled that they would let the husband believe it was and trap him into missing the deposition. When the husband called the morning of the deposition the secretary said that there was no deposition. So obviously the husband failed to show up.
Then the wifeís lawyers file for sanctions and tell the court that the husband should be punished for not attending his deposition. The judge, who knew these lawyers, and because of their position as officers of the court, believed these lawyers and ruled that the husband should be sanctioned. These sanctions, which were not specifically imposed, became a black mark upon the record against the husband and these lawyers used this to bias the court against the husband in hearings before other judges. They used this ruling for sanctions in their arguments at trial to convince the court that the husband should have to pay their legal fees.
This kind of conduct falls far below the standards of professional conduct required to be allowed to practice law. It amounts to fraud upon the court, which are grounds for disbarment. In fact, the rules prohibiting fraudulent behavior are so strict that the fraud does not require that the lawyer be convicted criminally or that the fraud was even done in his capacity as a lawyer.
A lawyer is supposed to be honest in the billing of his client. It is not acceptable for a lawyer to bring in extra lawyers to hearings and to bill for interoffice conferences that never occurred or was unnecessary. In this case the wife caught her lawyers double billing her. The privilege to practice law is only accorded those who demonstrate the requisite mental attainment and moral character. And fraudulently billing a client is not and example of the moral character required to be allowed to practice law in Missouri.
A lawyer is supposed to be truthful with the court and is prohibited from offering evidence that the lawyer knows is false. When a lawyer participates in the fabrication of false evidence it undermines the administration of justice and a court of equity will devitalize judgements obtained by fraud.
At trial the wife produced inventory lists indicating that Computer Tyme Inc. had inventory and equipment worth almost $200,000. These lists included items from six years before the trial when the company was still in the computer hardware business, most all of which was thrown out or sold years ago. The values of these items were listed at full retail value, sometimes even more than retail. The wife had full knowledge that these lists were false and were intended to mislead the trial judge so that she could get more money in the divorce. Her lawyers were fully aware of the falsified evidence and participated in and encouraged the client in the production of the falsified evidence.
A lawyer must require a client to be truthful and honest with the tribunal and is required to withdraw as counsel if the client wants the lawyer to break the rules. In this case we have a lawyer who wantís the client to break the rules.
Conflict of Interest
The husband has filed a separate lawsuit in law and in equity for fraud upon the court, fraudulent concealment, and fraudulent conspiracy to fabricate false evidence. This suit names the wife as well as her divorce lawyers Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp, as defendants. However, in spite of the fact that the lawyers are defendants, Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp entered an appearance as counsel in this lawsuit. Thus we have a situation where one defendant is trying to represent another defendant and is the very definition of conflict of interest. This representation breaks many rules and undermines the administration of justice. To even attempt to undermine justice in this manner is grounds for disbarment.
Even though there isnít a specific statute or rule that specifically prohibits one defendant from representing another, itís something that lawyers just donít do. How can a lawyer represent a client when his own conduct is in question? A jury wouldnít be able to separate the actions of the lawyer from that of the client.
In any suit at law or in equity the plaintiff has a right to question the defendants. Therefore the defendants are automatically to be considered witnesses. Rule 3.7 makes it clear that a witness is prohibited from being an advocate at trial. If a witness canít be and advocate and a defendant is a witness, then it is logical to conclude that a defendant canít be an advocate at trial.
A lawyer is prohibited from representing a client if there is a conflict of interest. Rule 1.7 says that, "Loyalty is an essential element in the lawyers relationship to a client. An impermissible conflict of interest may exist before representation is undertaken; in which event the representation should be declined. If such a conflict arises after representation has been undertaken, the lawyer should withdraw from the representation."
Rule 1.7 further states, "Loyalty to a client is impaired when a lawyer cannot consider, recommend or carry out an appropriate course of action for the client because of the lawyers other responsibilities or interests. The conflict in effect forecloses alternatives that would otherwise be available to the client." The rule makes it clear that, "The lawyers own interests should not be permitted to have and adverse effect on the representation of a client."
With a minor conflict of interest the rule can in some cases be circumvented through consultation and the clientís consent. However, the rules states: " ... when a disinterested lawyer would conclude that the client should not agree to the representation under the circumstances, the lawyer involved cannot properly ask for such agreement or provide representation on the basis of the clientís consent." The issue of conflict of interest is so important that the Rules give the opposing counsel the opportunity to raise the issue.
It seems the reason Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp want to represent the wife is to control her. If she had her own lawyer, this lawyer would likely recommend she file a cross suit against Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp for legal malpractice. The wife could be in a position to collect a lot of money from them for committing fraud upon the court in her behalf. It is to the advantage of the lawyer and to the disadvantage of the client that the sins of the lawyer be concealed. Thus the wife is denied effective counsel and the trial process could be subject to appeal on that basis.
Can you even imagine what it would be like for Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp to represent the wife at trial? What a circus that would be! What are Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp going to say when the husband asks them if their client participated in the faked deposition? Are they going to say she was in on it to share the liability, or say she wasn't and take responsibility themselves? When the husband asks the wife if Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp were aware that the wife was presenting fabricated evidence to the court, is she going to be able to testify against her own lawyers? I would doubt it. The Rules of Professional Conduct strictly prohibit these kinds of conflicts of interest. However, Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp break the rules with impunity. Now the question the husband raises is, is the court going to let them get away with it or is the court going to enforce itís own rules?
These lawyers should never have been allowed to represent the wife in the first place. A member of their firm, Evilyn Gwin, was representing a printing company who was suing Computer Tyme for $100,000. The wife was going after the same assets. Thus this firm had two clients who were after the same thing which is prohibited by the rules. The Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp raised this issue of with the wife as to a possible conflict of interest and the wife consented. However, it is unclear that the printing company also consented or that the wife gave informed consent. It is also unclear if informed consent is sufficient to overcome this conflict.
Integrity of the Judicial System at Stake
The judicial system is self-governing and is therefore responsible for policing itself. The preamble makes this responsibility clear by stating: "The legal profession's relative autonomy carries with it special responsibilities of self government. The profession has a responsibility to assure that its regulations are conceived in the public interest and not in furtherance of parochial or self-interested concerns of the bar. Every lawyer is responsible for observance of the Rules of Professional Conduct. A lawyer should also aid in securing their observance by other lawyers. Neglect of these responsibilities compromises the independence of the profession and the public interest which it serves."
The United States is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The judicial systemís function is to serve the public by providing a means to serve justice and to resolve disputes. This can only be done in an environment where honesty, integrity, and high moral standards are strictly enforced. The Supreme Court uses disciplinary proceedings to protect the court and public from the official ministrations of lawyers unfit to practice law.
Bad lawyers hurt good lawyers. When a lawyer is allowed to abuse the judicial process for his own personal gain it taints the image of the court and that of all lawyers. As officers of the court, lawyers should be held to a higher standard of honesty and moral character, not a lower standard. It is therefore in the best interest of all lawyers to weed out those who willfully break the rules and are therefore unfit to practice law. Any organization that fails to take responsibility to police itself will eventually lose its autonomy. If the courts allow lawyers to use the courtís power to abuse the people, the people will rise up against the courts and strip them of their authority.
It's the actions of lawyers like Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp who bring the lawyers into disrepute. Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp are a pariah on society and the legal system. They make a living feeding off the misfortune of others and taking advantage of the lax enforcement of ethical standards to use the courts as an opportunity to steal from the public. It lawyers like these who cause people like me to hate the judicial system because it makes all lawyers look like a bunch of self serving crooks. These lawyers should not be allowed to get away with it. These lawyers should not be allowed to continue to practice law.
These lawyers have shown an absolute disdain for ethics, honesty, and the Rules of Professional Conduct. To them these rules are a joke. Their conduct was willful, deliberate and inexcusable.
Mr. Wear and Mr. Sharp have committed serious violations of the rules of professional conduct. There is sufficient evidence on the face of the record to prove enough facts to establish that these violations did in fact occur. I have sited several cases that establish that these acts, if proved true, are sufficient grounds for disbarment. These lawyers are unfit to practice law and the Bar has a solemn duty to protect the public by removing these two lawyers from the practice of law.
The question before this court and the Bar is, are you going to enforce your own rules are arenít you?
Case Law $7/Month 50 States + Fed
I use this service.