Former Mayor Joe Ganim carved out a strategic position that he did nothing wrong. As a result, he showed no remorse. It didn’t work in court, costing him years of extra prison time, and it hasn’t worked–so far–as it relates to regaining his law license. From Dan Tepfer, CT Post:
A three-judge panel Thursday soundly rejected former mayor Joseph Ganim’s request to get his law license back, ruling that Ganim, who served prison time on corruption charges had showed no remorse for his crimes.
“Allowing an applicant to be readmitted to the practice of law following a conviction on 16 counts of racketeering, conspiracy, extortion, mail fraud, bribery and filing false income tax returns without any apology, expression of remorse, or explanation, and with only a vague acceptance of an unspecified event, simply would set the bar for readmission too low in the state and we are unwilling to do that,” the panel of Superior Court judges, Julia DiCocco Dewey, Elliot Solomon and Barbara Bellis stated in a 36-page decision.
Ganim was unavailable for comment. His brother and lawyer, George Ganim Jr., said he had not yet seen the decision and could not comment on it.
The former mayor, at one time considered a contender for a Democratic gubernatorial nomination, was convicted March 19, 2003, on federal corruption and bribery charges and sentenced by federal Judge Janet Arterton to nine years in prison, a $150,000 fine and ordered to pay $148,617 in restitution. According to testimony at trial, he and his associates operated a “pay to play” operation in which local developers had to pay them bribes to get preferential deals with the city.
Following an early release from prison in 2010, he has worked as a legal assistant at his family’s law firm here and started a counseling firm for others headed to federal prison while on supervised release.
In July a state committee made up of local lawyers recommended that Ganim get his law license back ruling he had “met and exceeded” the requirements for admission. Earlier this month the three-judge panel held several days of hearings to make a final decision on the application.
In his decision, the panel found that the lawyers’ committee’s recommendation was rife with errors. Committee members did not return calls for comment.
“We conclude that the committee acted unreasonably and abuse of its discretion in finding that the applicant possessed the necessary traits of good moral character and fitness to practice law that the profession rightfully demands,” the judges wrote. “The egregious misconduct at issue was not an isolated error of judgment or a youthful indiscretion but a deliberate, repeated pattern of dishonesty and corruption.”
The judges said the committee of five local lawyers clearly erred in determining that Ganim took responsibility for his crimes after he testified before them:
“I had a fair trial, I had good lawyers, I had a fair judge and I live and stand by the result, I accept the verdict, I was found guilty,” he testified. “I accept that, I acknowledge that. I took an appeal, I lost.” The judges continued that the committee ignored the fact that a federal judge ruled Ganim had testified falsely during his trial and wrongly gave little weight to Ganim’s website statement: “Wrongly we became what is literally known as the target of a federal investigation,” when making its recommendation that he is fit to practice law again.
The decision read: “The egregious misconduct at issue was not an isolated error in judgment or a youthful indiscretion but a deliberate, repeated pattern of dishonesty and corruption,” the panel ruled. “The crimes Ganim was convicted of directly implicate the core components of honesty, trustworthiness and fair dealing which are fundamental to the legal profession. We recognize that Ganim must not only be judged for his misconduct, but he also must be judged for his good conduct, and the record does reflect his many good qualities. However, the underlying crimes spanning 1995-1999, the uncontroverted evidence that he intentionally gave false testimony, the clear evidence of record that he denied engaging in criminal conduct and has never expressed remorse despite many opportunities to do so, the fact that he remains under the supervision of federal authorities and while on federal supervised release, established the federal prison consulting website, that the committee specifically found did not point to present fitness, compels our conclusion that the record cannot substantiate a finding of good moral character and fitness to practice law.
Read more including court decision here.