189 A.D.3d 1962 (2020)

138 N.Y.S.3d 290

2020 NY Slip Op 07980

In the Matter of Ashley Ann Krapacs, an Attorney. (Attorney Registration No. 5389309.)

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Third Department.

Decided December 24, 2020.

Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

Monica A. Duffy , Attorney Grievance Committee for the Third Judicial Department, Albany ( Michael K. Creaser of counsel), for Attorney Grievance Committee for the Third Judicial Department.

Ashley Ann Krapacs, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, respondent pro se.

Garry, P.J., Clark, Aarons, Pritzker and Reynolds Fitzgerald, JJ., concur.

Upon consideration of the facts, circumstances and documentation before us, we conclude that respondent has not established any of the available defenses to the imposition of discipline in this state. Contrary to respondent's arguments, our review of the record fails to support her conclusory allegations of a lack of due process, or that there was an infirmity of proof in the Florida proceedings (see Rules for Attorney Disciplinary Matters [22 NYCRR] § 1240.13[b][1], [2]). Not only was respondent afforded a full disciplinary hearing, where she was permitted to testify and present witnesses, she engaged in extensive motion practice where all of her arguments—even if ultimately rejected—were heard and considered. As for the proof supporting the sustained misconduct, respondent does not deny that she was the author of the inappropriate social media and other communications directed at her perceived adversaries; in fact, her submissions to this Court clearly set forth her apparent entrenched position that her actions were justified and that she is somehow exempt from the disciplinary rules that all licensed attorneys are required to follow. Significantly, the First Amendment does not grant an attorney the right in this state to advance unsubstantiated and baseless criticisms of the judiciary (see Matter of Holtzman, 78 N.Y.2d 184, 192-193 [1991], cert denied 502 U.S. 1009 [1991]), nor are licensed attorneys permitted to use social media to harass and falsely attack others (see e.g. Matter of Zappin, 160 A.D.3d 1, 3 [2018], appeal dismissed 32 N.Y.3d 946 [2018], lv denied 32 N.Y.3d 915 [2019]; Matter of Keegan, 95 A.D.3d 1560 [2012]). Accordingly, we conclude that respondent's defenses to the motion are not persuasive and, therefore, her misconduct is deemed established.

Turning our attention to the issue of the appropriate disciplinary sanction (see Matter of Cresci, 175 A.D.3d 1670, 1672 [2019]), we note that respondent's pattern of misconduct is well documented in the file, as is her lack of any genuine remorse or insight into her poor judgment. The record further demonstrates respondent's continued refusal to acknowledge the impropriety and harmfulness of her conduct and her insistence that all investigations of her misconduct were prompted by corrupt motives (see Matter of McArdle, 167 A.D.3d 1223, 1224 [2018]; see generally ABA Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions standard 9.22). Consequently, we find that the totality of facts and circumstances presented in this matter does not warrant a deviation from the severity of respondent's Florida disciplinary sanction. We therefore conclude that, to protect the public, maintain the honor and integrity of the profession and deter others from committing similar misconduct, respondent should be disbarred in this state (see Matter of Zappin, 160 AD3d at 3).

Ordered that the motion of the Attorney Grievance Committee for the Third Judicial Department is granted; and it is further ordered that respondent is disbarred and her name is stricken from the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law of the State of New York, effective immediately; and it is further ordered that respondent is commanded to desist and refrain from the practice of law in any form in the State of New York, either as principal or as agent, clerk or employee of another; and respondent is hereby forbidden to appear as an attorney or counselor-at-law before any court, judge, justice, board, commission or other public authority, or to give to another an opinion as to the law or its application, or any advice in relation thereto, or to hold herself out in any way as an attorney and counselor-at-law in this State; and it is further ordered that respondent shall comply with the provisions of the Rules for Attorney Disciplinary Matters regulating the conduct of disbarred attorneys and shall duly certify to the same in her affidavit of compliance (see Rules for Attorney Disciplinary Matters [22 NYCRR] § 1240.15).


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