Lawyer is censured after he's accused of shoplifting groceries worth less than $500

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The New Jersey Supreme Court has censured a Morristown, New Jersey, lawyer and ordered psychological counseling after he was accused of shoplifting items at a ShopRite grocery store.

The court censured lawyer Cary J. Frieze in a Dec. 9 order, the Legal Profession Blog reports.

According to an April 30 report by the New Jersey Supreme Court Disciplinary Review Board, Frieze was arrested in March 2019 after an employee of a ShopRite store in Hanover, New Jersey, observed Frieze conceal merchandise worth about $47, buy biscuits worth 40 cents and then leave the store. Surveillance footage allegedly showed that Frieze had shoplifted on seven occasions in the previous 12 days, stealing merchandise worth about $470.

Frieze pleaded guilty to disorderly persons shoplifting in June 2019. A judge determined that he was not eligible for a “first offender” conditional dismissal program because he was a previous participant. In the previous case, the charge was dismissed after Frieze was accused of shoplifting merchandise worth about $260.

Frieze’s lawyer, Peter Gilbreth, had reported the guilty plea to the New Jersey Supreme Court Office of Attorney Ethics.

Frieze has been admitted to practice since 1972. He was admonished for record-keeping violations in 2019 but has no other formal discipline during his legal career.

Frieze must provide quarterly reports documenting continued psychological counseling for a two-year period. He also must provide proof of fitness to practice within 60 days, as attested by a mental health professional approved by the Office of Attorney Ethics.

Frieze’s lawyer told the ABA Journal that he and his client declined to comment.

Updated Dec. 14 at 11:35 a.m. to report the decision not to comment.

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