On Thursday, August 10, 2023, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals disbarred attorney Jamie Teodoro Zeas also known as James J. Zeas for his improper conduct related to a concealed video recording he conducted in 2009, capturing a minor changing clothes in a health club restroom.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Jamie Teodoro Zeas,” with case no. 016-17.
On July 2, 2019, the New York Supreme Court faced the crucial task of determining the fate of attorney Jaime T. Zeas, who had been convicted of a serious felony. Zeas faced a grave legal situation in 2017 wherein he was convicted in an Illinois court for child pornography, a class 1 felony. This conviction arose from a troubling incident in 2009, involving the secret video recording of a minor in a health club bathroom.
Following the said event, The Attorney Grievance Committee (AGC) filed a petition, seeking to have Zeas’ name struck from the roll of attorneys in the State of New York. One key issue in the case was determining whether Zeas’ out-of-state felony was essentially similar to a New York felony. Despite facial dissimilarities in the statutes, the AGC contended that essential similarity was evident when considering the evidence presented during Zeas’ criminal trial. This evidence revealed that Zeas had surreptitiously recorded a minor without her knowledge or consent, a clear violation of New York’s unlawful surveillance statute. The court also examined precedent and found other cases with felony convictions analogous to Zeas’, further supporting the AGC’s argument. This established a consistent approach in cases with similar legal circumstances. The court ultimately granted the AGC’s motion, leading to the disbarment of Jaime T. Zeas in New York.
Considering the certified order from the state of New York that led to the disbarment of Zeas from practicing law; the court’s previous directive on June 6, 2023, upholding Zeas’s suspension during the pending final resolution of the said matter and instructing him to provide reasons against imposing reciprocal discipline; as well as the statement presented by the Disciplinary Counsel advocating for reciprocal discipline and urging that Zeas’s reinstatement be contingent upon his reentry in both New York and Illinois jurisdictions, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals decided to disbar Zeas from the practice of law in DC.
The Disposition states:
“ORDERED that Jaime Teodoro Zeas a.k.a. James J. Zeas is hereby disbarred from the practice of law in the District of Columbia. In addition to the other requirements for reinstatement, prior to seeking reinstatement, the respondent must first be reinstated to practice law in the states of New York and Illinois.”
Mr. Zeas was licensed in Illinois, New York, and the District of Columbia with license no. 491583.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.