Legal Ethics

Trophy Prank Cost: Law License & More

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Helping a buddy hide a stolen Florida State University national football title trophy may have seemed like an amusing prank at the time.

But the incident is now providing a painful lesson for a 30-year-old attorney who graduated from law school at the University of Florida, FSU’s archrival. Jason Paul Rojas has had his law license suspended for 60 days, starting this weekend, because he stashed the Waterford crystal trophy at his home in Tallahassee in 2004 and 2005, at a time when he was already a lawyer, reports the Miami Herald. And now he is facing repercussions at work, too.

Rojas was also criminally charged in the case, even though he didn’t himself steal the trophy, and entered a pretrial diversion program, the newspaper notes. At that point, charges of holding stolen property were dropped. Lawmakers knew about the FSU trophy prank when they hired him at a $55,000 annual salary as executive director of the 15-member state legislative Hispanic caucus. However, caucus members thought it was behind Rojas and now are embarrassed by the latest salvo of publicity over his law license suspension, according to the Herald.

Caucus founder Rep. Juan Zapata (R-Miami), feels he was misled by an e-mail from Rojas this spring showing that he was then in good standing with the Florida Bar. Zapata wants Rojas to lose his job. “It was a pretty lawyerly response: I’ll show you I’m in good standing, but I won’t show you that I’m facing a bar complaint,” Zapata said. “This makes us all look bad at the caucus. We’re doing criminal background checks on whomever we hire next.”

The Herald couldn’t reach Rojas for comment.

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