Davis Adv. Sh. No. 5
THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Supreme Court
In the Matter of Eben
H. Cockley, Respondent,
Opinion No. 24753
Heard December 2, 1997 - Filed January 26, 1998
PER CURIAM: This is an attorney disciplinary matter.
The Panel recommended respondent be definitely suspended for one year
retroactive to April 2, 1996, the date he pled guilty and was sentenced.
By a vote of 6 to 0, the Interim Review Committee adopted the Panel's
conclusions of law and recommendations but the Committee recommended
respondent be suspended retroactive to May 2, 1996, when we temporarily
suspended respondent pursuant to ¶ 6 of Rule 413, SCACR.
Respondent was arrested on May 30, 1994, for felony driving
under the influence (DUI) causing great bodily injury. Respondent was
driving southward in the northbound lane when he collided with a
motorcycle injuring the riders. One rider, Maurice Lewis, was seriously
injured.1 Respondent's blood alcohol level was .23. He pled guilty to felony
DUI and was sentenced to five years. Respondent was released from
prison on April 9, 1997.
residual problems, such as a loss of smell and taste, behavioral changes
(i.e. emotional outbursts), and a knee injury.
We have not sanctioned an attorney solely upon the basis of a
conviction for felony DUI. Other jurisdictions that have considered the
question of the appropriate sanction when an attorney drives under the
influence and causes serious injury or death have found some period of
suspension or even disbarment warranted. See Danny R. Veilleux,
Annotation, Misconduct Involving Intoxication as Ground for Disciplinary
Action Against Attorney, 1 A.L.R.5th 874 §§ 6-9 (1992 & Supp. 1995).
A fixed period of suspension is commonly imposed for a felony
DUI conviction. See e.g. Kentucky Bar Ass'n v. Rankin, 862 S.W.2d 894
(Ky. 1993)(six-month suspension and two year probationary period for
felony DWI); Kentucky Bar Ass'n v. Jones, 759 S.W.2d 61 (Ky. 1988)(court
imposed two year suspension on attorney convicted of felony DUI and
reckless homicide); In re Morris, 74 N.M. 679, 397 P.2d 475
(1964)(indefinite suspension for involuntary manslaughter resulting from
DUI); Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Michaels, 38 Ohio St.3d 248, 257
N.E.2d 299 (1988)(court imposed eighteen-month suspension when attorney
pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter, DWI, and reckless driving); In re
Curran, 115 Wash.2d 747, 801 P.2d 962 (1990)(court imposed six-month
suspension when attorney convicted of vehicular manslaughter).
We find respondent has violated § 5(C) of Rule 413, SCACR, by
committing a serious crime and his misconduct warrants an eighteen-
month suspension. Therefore, respondent is hereby suspended from the
practice of law in this State for a period of eighteen months retroactively
to the date of his temporary suspension, May 2, 1996. Within fifteen days
of the date of this opinion, respondent shall file an affidavit with the Clerk
of Court showing that he has complied with Paragraph 30 of Rule 413,