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July 24, 2012

Salem lawyer gets license suspension for sign thefts

SALEM — A well-known Salem defense attorney will sit out part of the summer, after entering an agreement with the state’s Board of Bar Overseers to accept a 30-day suspension of his law license.

Raymond Buso, who last year admitted to vandalism and larceny charges involving the theft of signs from a downtown Salem business, agreed to the suspension of his license as a penalty for violating the rules of conduct governing lawyers.

Buso spent six months on probation after admitting to sufficient facts in the case, which involved his taking advertising signs for Rita’s Italian Ice, a business in the Museum Place Mall on Essex Street, in June 2011.

Buso told a judge during his plea hearing in October that a series of encounters between the owner of the business and others, including his son and a competing downtown business owner, and an incident in which he hurt his hand when he accidentally struck one of the signs while walking, triggered the three thefts.

The charges shocked many legal observers who had worked with Buso during his three-decade career.

The charges were dismissed in April, after a six-month continuation without a finding.

But earlier this year, the state Office of Bar Counsel, which acts as a prosecutor for misconduct complaints involving lawyers, alleged that Buso had engaged in professional misconduct by committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer; engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; and engaging in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law.

The Board of Bar Overseers had scheduled a hearing for May on the alleged violations, which stemmed from the larceny and vandalism charges.

Buso said earlier this year that he wanted to avoid a hearing, and he instead sought to negotiate a resolution.

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