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Attorneys: Discipline-Coverup of Police Assault

While working in the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office, respondents helped a police detective with whom they were acquainted to cover up the detective’s assault of a suspect he believed had broken into his daughter’s vehicle. Respondents failed to report the assault and instead filed false charges against the suspect.

Where respondents’ conduct, including failing to report and purposely concealing knowledge of a law enforcement officer’s assault of a suspect by repeatedly lying to state and federal investigators and imposing false charges against the suspect, was an especially egregious violation of the rules of professional conduct, it warranted respondents’ indefinite suspension from the practice of law, starting with a several-year denial of leave to petition for reinstatement.

Discipline is ordered.

In re: Schuessler (MLW No. 73771/Case No. SC97376 & SC97377 – 23 pages) (Supreme Court of Missouri, Breckenridge, J.) Original disciplinary proceedings (Alan D. Pratzel and Sam S. Phillips, Jefferson City, and Marc A. Lapp, St. Louis, for petitioner) (Justin K. Gelfand, St. Louis, and Gary R. Sarachan and Sheila Greenbaum, St. Louis, and Michael P. Downey and Paige A.E. Tungate, St. Louis, for respondents)