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Local News

February 23, 2010

Salem lawyer suspended for handicapped placard misuse

SALEM — Anyone who travels into Boston regularly knows that parking can be a challenge, but one Salem lawyer's solution — using handicapped-parking placards issued to a client's disabled child and his dead uncle — has cost him a lot more than a few parking tickets.

Garrison Stuart Corben, 36, has lost his law license for a year and a day, according to an order from the Supreme Judicial Court released this month.

A petition for discipline filed with the Board of Bar Overseers indicates Corben used one of the placards, issued to the parents of a disabled North Shore girl, for more than two years — until the child's father got wind of the scheme via a letter from the city of Boston's parking clerk in August 2007.

By then, however, Corben had challenged more than a dozen tickets slapped on his Mercedes at expired meters and in handicapped spots all over the city, winning most of those appeals.

And when city officials began to question Corben's claims that he was shuttling the girl to medical appointments, he generated letters purporting to be from the girl — who cannot use her arms and legs, and who is unable to write, sign her name or type, according to the complaint.

Then city officials discovered that Corben had also been using a placard issued to Corben's uncle — who had died in 2002 at the age of 92.

While the placard had expired in 2003, the complaint says Corben altered the sign to make it appear to be valid when he used it in 2007.

Corben was living in Boston at the time, in a Back Bay condo and then in Charlestown.

But for a couple of years, he had lived in Beverly, in the home of the girl's mother, whom he had represented in some matters.

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