SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

July 24, 2012

Salem lawyer gets license suspension for sign thefts

BY JULIE MANGANIS, STAFF WRITER
The Salem News

---- — 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.

The hearing was canceled, and on June 11, the Board of Bar Overseers voted to recommend the 30-day suspension, which took effect July 16.

The order, which was approved by a Supreme Judicial Court justice on July 9, means Buso has been required to withdraw temporarily from all of his pending cases.

Buso has also been suspended since last year from accepting any court-appointed cases.

The Board of Bar Overseers, in its recommendation, noted that it took into account that suspension by the Committee for Public Counsel Services, as well as the fact that Buso’s misconduct did not involve his work as a lawyer.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.