In the Matter of Jason K. Betts

26 Mass. Att'y Disc. R. 44 (2010)

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No. BD-2009-112

S.J.C. Order of Term Suspension entered by Justice Cordy on December 16, 2010, with an effective date of January 18, 2011. 1


On November 13, 2009, the respondent was convicted in the Merrimack County Superior Court, New Hampshire, of control of a vehicle where a controlled drug, crack cocaine, was illegally kept, in violation of N.H.R.S.A. 318-B:2 and 318-B:26, III(a) and possession of marijuana, in violation of N.H.R.S.A. 318-B:2 and 318-B:26, II(d). Both crimes are misdemeanors. The cocaine was found in the respondent’s pocket. The respondent was fined $500 and sentenced to concurrent terms of up to twelve months in the house of correction, all deferred for one year conditioned on good behavior and compliance with the terms of deferral, including performance of 100 hours of community service, undergoing a substance abuse evaluation, and following up on recommendations.

The respondent was admitted to the bar of the Commonwealth on June 16, 2004. He filed his petition for admission on April 7, 2003. Question 12(a) of the petition required the respondent to disclose each charge or investigation for any misdemeanor or felony other than a minor traffic charge. The respondent’s response to this question failed to disclose his admission to sufficient facts in 1990 to illegal possession of a Class D substance; charges brought in 1991 of operating under the influence of liquor, operating under the influence of drugs, and illegal possession of a Class D substance, for which a nolle prosequi was entered after trial by jury; and charges in 1996 of operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, which was dismissed, and refusing to identify himself, to which he admitted sufficient facts. The respondent falsely certified to the Board of Bar Examiners that his answers were “true, complete and candid….”

On March 25, 2010, bar counsel filed a petition for discipline alleging that the respondent’s New Hampshire convictions violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(b) and (h) and that his failure to disclose misdemeanor charges on his petition for admission violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.1(b) and 8.4(c), (d), and (h). On September 13, 2010, the respondent filed an answer admitting to the charges and rule violations in the petition for discipline. The parties stipulated that the respondent’s possession of cocaine was a factor in aggravation, and, in mitigation, the respondent suffered from a serious anxiety disorder for which he had sought treatment.

The parties agreed to a twelve-month suspension with six months of actual suspension and the remainder stayed subject to conditions of probation following his reinstatement. The conditions included that the respondent provide to bar counsel on or before the entry date of the order of suspension a release permitting Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers to report to bar counsel any failure of the respondent to comply with LCL’s treatment recommendations or to abstain from the use of alcohol or illegal substances. The respondent would be permitted to apply for reinstatement pursuant to the provisions of S. J. C. Rule 4:01, § 18(1)(a), and would therefore not be required to take and pass the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination. As conditions of reinstatement, the respondent would be required to certify, in addition to the requirements of § 18(1)(a), that he was in full compliance with the treatment recommendations of his therapist, psychopharmacologist, and LCL; supply to bar counsel executed releases acceptable to each of his treatment providers authorizing the provider to provide treatment records to bar counsel upon request; notify bar counsel immediately if he changed treatment providers; provide an executed release for each new provider to bar counsel; and notify bar counsel immediately if he stopped treatment.

On October 18, 2010, the Board of Bar Overseers voted to accept the parties’ stipulation and recommendation for discipline. The board filed an information and the record of proceedings with the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County. On December 16, 2010, the county court (Cordy, J.) entered an order suspending the respondent for twelve months, with six months of actual suspension effective thirty days from entry, and the remaining six months stayed according to the terms of the parties’ stipulation and the board’s recommendation.



1 The complete Order of the Court is available by contacting the Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County.

2 Compiled by the Board of Bar Overseers based on the record filed with the Supreme Judicial Court.