A Nebraska lawyer who pleaded no contest to a felony after punching his elderly father in the face several times 2018 has been disbarred by the state’s supreme court.
The Nebraska Supreme Court said on March 27 that while there’s no “bright line rule,” its cases “regarding the appropriate discipline for felony convictions have generally concluded that such convictions reflect adversely upon a lawyer’s fitness to practice law and that disbarment is the appropriate sanction.”
Omaha attorney Evangelos A. Argyrakis pleaded no contest in 2018 to a charge of “knowing and intentional abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult or senior adult, a Class IIIA felony” and was sentenced to three years’ probation.
Argyrakis, at the time of the assault, was a Democratic Party candidate for Nebraska attorney general, according to local news reports.
At his disciplinary hearing, Argyrakis said that since 2010, he had seen five different doctors for mental health therapy and medication management and that during his childhood, his father physically and emotionally abused him and that he witnessed his father physically abusing his mother, the court said.
He called a mental health expert to testify that his depressive disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder contributed to the incident between him and his father, it said. But the hearing referee placed little weight on the testimony as a mitigating factor because “the opinions were formed solely on the basis of self-reporting by Argyrakis,” the court said.
The referee found that a mitigating factor was his lack of a prior disciplinary record in over 25 years of practice, it added. However, Argyrakis didn’t accept responsibility for his misconduct, the court said.
And the referee also concluded that Argyrakis had been convicted of a crime of violence, in violation of state professional conduct rule, it added. While the crime of abuse of a vulnerable adult may not always constitute a crime of violence, particularly when there’s an issue of neglect or exploitation, in this case the record from the criminal case showed showed otherwise, the referee found.
A conviction for a crime of violence “damages the reputation of the bar and threatens public confidence in the profession,” the court said. “For these reasons, we conclude, after considering the appropriate factors, that disbarment is the appropriate sanction in this case,” it said.
Argyrakis, in a statement emailed to Bloomberg Law, said he’d retired from the practice of law prior to his disbarment.
“I did not have any clients, nor did I have any client funds at the time of the incident and I was in no danger to anyone in the public in terms of providing any type of misinformed legal services or any kind legal negligence,” he said.
The case is State ex rel. Counsel for Discipline of the Neb. Supreme Court v. Argyrakis, 2020 BL 114456, Neb., No. S-19-059, 3/27/20.
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