At last, some action

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

At last, some action

On April 30, 2009, OtBB asked "What's ahead for Jim Hulme now that Judge Melvyn Tannenbaum has published his decision in the East End Ready Mix case?"

The part of the Tannenbaum decision which occasioned that inquiry read:

"...credible evidence established during the hearing re­vealed that defendant Josephine Carnevale, together with her then attorney, James N. Hulme, Esquire, took part in filing in the Suffolk County Clerk's Office deeds misrep­resenting the description of the premises by enlarging the area of defen­dant's property to include a 23 foot strip of Hazelwood Avenue owned by the Village of Westhampton Beach."

During that proceeding, Judge Tannenbaum relieved Hulme as counsel for Josephine Carnevale and her corporate entities, and:

  1. Referred the matter to District Attorney Thomas Spota for possible action.
  2. Also referred the hearing transcript to the Tenth Judicial District Grievance Committee for review.

And, as noted at the time, the view here was that "unless there's an opportunity for a splashy press conference by Mr. Spota, no indictment should be forthcoming."

(None was and almost four years later, still hasn't.)

Justice, though, while slow, did in fact reach the finish line as the Second Department Grievance Committee of the Bar Association reviewed the case and on January 9, 2013 issued an "Opinion and Order" that sustained all three charges of professional misconduct leveled against Hulme:

  1. ...respondent engaged in conduct adversely re­flecting on his fitness as a lawyer;
  2. ...respondent engaged in conduct involving dis­honesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation;
  3. ...respondent engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

The "punishment?"

"The respondent is censured for his professional misconduct."

Hulme's former law partner and still office mate Gus Kelly got worse, "admonishment," two years ago by the State of New York Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Hulme successfully pleaded that...

"...the conduct at issue took place in 1997, some 15 years ago, and that the subject conduct was an isolated incident."

In mitigation:

"...the respondent asserts that this is the only blemish on his 26-year legal career; that he has admitted his errors and accepted responsibility; that he has expressed re­morse; that his testimony was open, candid and sin­cere; that he provided impressive and substantial support for his good character; and that it is extremely unlikely that the subject conduct would be repeated."

Under the "no harm, no foul" theory, the five member Grievance Committee concluded...

"Under the totality of circumstances, including the absence of actual harm as a result of the correction deeds having been 'voided' and 'cancelled' without any unlawful transfer of the subject property, the respondent is censured for his professional misconduct."

While some will view this as Hulme as having dodged a bullet, the outrageous conduct was exposed, officially re­viewed, and is now a matter of public record.

It was not, as so much else has been, simply kicked under the carpet.

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