Friday, August 01, 2008

OBA General Counsel to Take Leave of Absence

The Oklahoma Bar Association announced this afternoon that OBA General Counsel Dan Murdock has requested and been granted a leave of absence after DNA tests on the bite mark of an alleged sexual battery victim were found to be consistent with his DNA. Murdock has been formally charged with sexual battery. (Link to Daily Oklahoman news report HERE.) The Oklahoma Bar Association's press release on the matter follows. (Link to OBA press release HERE.)


OBA General Counsel to Take Leave of Absence

Association Explains Disciplinary Procedures

(OKLAHOMA CITY – Aug. 1) Oklahoma Bar Association General Counsel Dan Murdock has requested a leave of absence from his job until his personal legal issues have been resolved.

“In the case of a criminal investigation involving a lawyer,” said OBA President J. William Conger, “the Professional Responsibility Commission, which investigates allegations of lawyer misconduct, would typically wait for the outcome of a plea or conviction and then take appropriate action.”

OBA Executive Director John Morris Williams said, “At this point there is a criminal action pending with the district attorney’s office. Discipline against a lawyer brought about by a complaint at the bar association is a civil process to determine if an attorney has engaged in unethical or improper conduct that would affect his or her license to practice. These are two separate and distinct proceedings with different burdens of proof.”

Regarding Murdock’s license to practice law, Conger said, “There is a very fair and deliberate process to discipline attorneys who violate the rules of our profession. That process is also applicable to our general counsel if he has violated the rules. The general counsel has to follow the rules just like everyone else and will suffer the same consequences as anyone else if he has not.

“Mr. Murdock, like any other criminal defendant, should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

In the event that a grievance is filed against Murdock, the Oklahoma Supreme Court Rules Governing Disciplinary Proceedings provide for a commission made up of five lawyers and two non-lawyers to appoint a special counsel who would investigate and present the case if the grievance is determined to have merit.

If found to have merit, the case would be presented in front of a three-member panel that includes one non-lawyer. The recommendation of the panel is then sent to the Oklahoma Supreme Court for a final determination of discipline that could include disbarment.

“Normally grievances against a lawyer are handled by the general counsel’s office,” Conger said. “In this case because of the inherent conflict of interest, the attorneys and investigators in the Office of the General Counsel would not participate. That is why the Professional Responsibility Commission would handle this.”


The Oklahoma Supreme Court Rules Governing Disciplinary Proceedings are available at

More information about the Professional Responsibility Commission is available at


Blogger JM said...

such a sad situation

11:56 PM  

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