Alaska Bar urges court to reject Stevens plea

December 16, 2008 

The Alaska Bar Association says that U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens' plea to keep his law license is based on a faulty reading of the rules and a mischaracterization of the seriousness of his conviction for lying on his Senate disclosure forms. The bar, in a pleading filed this week, urged the Alaska Supreme Court to reject Stevens' arguments that he wasn't really convicted and that his crime was not a crime under Alaska law. The association said that even as an "inactive" member of the bar, Stevens is a danger to the public and an embarrassment to the legal profession.

The state bar initially sought a suspension of Stevens' license shortly after his conviction Oct. 27. Stevens opposed the suspension in a pleading to the supreme court, which regulates attorneys in Alaska. His license has already been suspended in two other jurisdictions, California and Washington, D.C.

"The public is entitled to the assurance that a member who commits a felony or a serious crime will be identified as a suspended member of the Bar Association pending final disposition of any appeal of the conviction and the disciplinary proceedings based on that conviction," the association said. "By a jury verdict finding him guilty of seven federal felonies, (Stevens) breached the responsibilities of his public office and his professional responsibility to the public, the legal system and the legal profession in Alaska."

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