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Attorney Discipline

Zach Bickel, Esquire

Discipline of attorney for four DWIs in 11 years resulted in indefinite suspension from the practice of law. In re Byron G. Stewart, No. 91370 (Mo. banc, June 28, 2011), Russell, J.

Attorney Stewart was licensed to practice law in Missouri in 1982. In 1997, he pleaded guilty to his first DWI, his second in 1994 and his third in 2006. He was arrested for his fourth DWI in November 2008, when he was found "passed out and intoxicated while behind the wheel of a parked vehicle." His fourth DWI was charged as a class D felony, resulting in a three-year suspended sentence with supervised probation. Stewart's only previous discipline involved an admonition related to diligence and communication in April 2009. Although his fourth DWI was pending at the time of admonition, The Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel apparently was unaware of his criminal history or pending felony charge. The Supreme Court found Stewart pleading guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol on four separate occasions to be a violation of Rule 4-8.4(b) - a criminal act reflecting adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer. Applying applicable ABA standards to the facts of Stewart's case, including the multiple instances of drunken driving and the seriousness of his felony conviction, the Court suspended Stewart's license to practice law indefinitely with no leave to apply for reinstatement for six months after the issuance of the Court's mandate. The Missouri Bar Courts Bulletin, 11-Jul