A former Aitkin County attorney has been disbarred from practicing law, a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling filed Thursday indicated.
The disciplinary action arose out of a petition served and filed by the director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility against Bradley C. Rhodes.
Efforts to reach Rhodes by phone were unsuccessful Friday.
Rhodes was defeated for re-election to a second term by current county attorney Tom Murtha in 2002. According to Aitkin County records, Rhodes was hired as an assistant county attorney in 1988 and was appointed Aitkin County attorney in July 1992. He was then elected county attorney and served two four-year terms from January 1995 to January 2003.
Rhodes was an Aitkin High School graduate and received his bachelor's degree in forestry from the University of Minnesota and law degree from William Mitchell College of Law, according to a Brainerd Dispatch candidate questionnaire Rhodes responded to published during the 2002 political race.
According to the court opinion, Rhodes violated the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct by failing to abide by client decisions concerning the objectives of the representation, failing to act diligently in client matters, failing to reasonably communicate with clients, acquiring an interest in client property without the client's informed consent, failing to hold client funds in trust, failing to return client property and unearned fee payments, failing to protect clients' interests upon termination of the representation and failing to respond to the disciplinary authority.
According to the court document, Rhodes began practicing law in Minnesota in May of 1984. He has been disciplined on three previous occasions. In February 1992 he was admonished for failing to refund unearned client fees. In July 1996 he was admonished again for failing to serve an answer to a summons and complaint until after a default hearing had occurred in the action. On May 18, 2005, he was admonished and placed on supervised probation for two years for failing to file two briefs on behalf of a client and for failing to cooperate with the investigation into that misconduct.
The current disciplinary petition which led to Rhodes disbarment is based on Rhodes's failure to comply with the terms of the probation previously ordered by the court and new acts of professional misconduct in seven client matters and his failure to cooperate with the investigation into this new professional misconduct.
In addition to being disbarred from the practice of law, Rhodes was ordered to pay $900 in costs to the director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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