Lawyer who failed to show up for hearings said he had 'other stuff to worry about,' reprimand order says
The Iowa Supreme Court has reprimanded an Iowa lawyer for skipping several parole revocation hearings for appointed clients and causing a client to miss two court dates because of mistakes. Image from Shutterstock.
An Iowa City, Iowa, lawyer has been publicly reprimanded for skipping several parole revocation hearings for appointed clients and causing a client to miss two court dates because of mistakes.
Two parole judges had filed a complaint against Rodriguez alleging that he was not appearing for parole revocation hearings and was not returning emails or phone calls from parole officers. Because he missed the hearings, Rodriguez’s appointed clients had to choose between continuing to wait in jail or proceeding without counsel.
The Iowa Supreme Court’s attorney disciplinary board determined in August that Rodriguez missed “multiple hearings” and was not communicating with the appointed clients.
In an email, Rodriguez said he had “other stuff to worry about besides the hearings,” according to the disciplinary board.
The disciplinary board also found that a criminal defendant charged with stalking, harassment and burglary missed two hearings because of mistakes by Rodriguez. In one instance, Rodriguez told the defendant the wrong date for a January 2022 hearing. In the second, Rodriguez filed a not-guilty plea but not an appearance, causing him to miss electronic-filing notices and a February 2022 hearing.
The disciplinary board concluded that Rodriguez violated several ethics rules, including rules governing diligence, competence and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
Rodriguez did not immediately reply to an ABA Journal voicemail seeking comment.