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Lawyer’s suspension falls short of OCDC request

Scott Lauck//May 8, 2023

Lawyer’s suspension falls short of OCDC request

Scott Lauck//May 8, 2023

The Missouri Supreme Court on May 2 suspended a Caruthersville lawyer for at least six months after finding he’d violated several rules of professional conduct.

The suspension for Daniel Cornacchione Sr. falls well below what the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel had sought in the case. The agency had argued that disbarment was the baseline sanction for his violations and that a two-year suspension would have been appropriate.

A message left with Cornacchione’s office wasn’t returned. The court’s order followed an April 26 oral argument at which the attorney, who represented himself, said the violations coincided with the dissolution of his marriage and weren’t representative of his nearly 20-year legal career.

“I’m just here at the mercy of the court,” he said. “I love what I do.”

According to court filings, Cornacchione received a suspended imposition of sentence for fourth-degree domestic assault following an incident in which police were called to his home in April 2020 because of a dispute with his then-wife in which he was intoxicated and possessed a loaded firearm. In his brief, the attorney said he hadn’t threatened her but had entered an Alford plea in the case to avoid the scandal of a trial.

OCDC also alleged that Cornacchione had taken more than three years to resolve a “modest” probate matter and failed to respond to his client for 16 months, and that he’d represented a defendant in a family property dispute without clearly outlining who he represented. The agency also said the attorney had placed his personal funds into his trust account to hide the money from his former wife. Cornacchione argued that none of his actions had harmed his clients and said he believed his secretary had failed to give him messages.

Cornacchione, a solo practitioner, earned his law degree in 2003 and focuses his practice on domestic relations and criminal defense. In 2018, he was the Republican candidate for circuit judge in the 34th Judicial Circuit but lost to now-Judge W. Edward Reeves.

The case is In re: Cornacchione, SC99933.

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