The Iowa Capital Dispatch reported that attorney Scott A. Sobel, who has faced sanctions from the state on nine previous occasions, is once again under scrutiny for allegations of neglecting his clients. The Grievance Commission of the Iowa Supreme Court has recommended a 30-day suspension of Sobel’s license following a case involving his handling of a criminal matter and a civil lawsuit. The article delves into the details of the case and Sobel’s history of disciplinary actions.

In September 2021, Sobel was appointed to represent Mario Goodson in a felony criminal case. Shockingly, Sobel did not review the crucial presentence investigation report prior to Goodson’s sentencing hearing, demonstrating a severe lack of preparation. Furthermore, he failed to communicate with Goodson until the day of the sentencing. During the hearing, it became evident that Sobel had not adequately briefed his client, prompting the judge to call for breaks in the proceedings. Despite these disruptions, Goodson was ultimately sentenced to 25 years in prison.

In a separate incident in February 2021, Sobel filed a civil court petition on behalf of clients Samir Golubovic and Ramiza Dervisedic. However, Sobel missed a subsequent deadline, leading to a scheduled hearing in June 2021. The court explicitly warned Sobel that non-appearance would result in the case’s immediate dismissal. Sobel failed to attend the hearing, causing the court to reschedule for July. Due to a delay in serving the defendants, the hearing was subsequently canceled. In August, the court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the case.

Citing a range of medical issues, Sobel filed a motion to set aside the dismissal, including bronchitis, an ear ailment, diabetes management, digestive problems, a yeast infection, swallowing difficulties, respiratory issues, and COVID-19. The court, while sympathetic to Sobel’s health challenges, emphasized that illnesses cannot excuse professional misconduct.

Sobel’s prior disciplinary history played a significant role in the commission’s decision. Since 2002, he has received six private admonishments and three public reprimands since 2010. These reprimands and admonishments were for violations directly related to the current case, indicating a pattern of misconduct.

While Sobel’s health challenges are acknowledged, they do not absolve him of professional misconduct. The combination of his repeated neglect of clients and prior disciplinary actions led the commission to recommend a 30-day license suspension. The court has yet to make a final decision on this recommendation, leaving Sobel’s legal career in limbo.

Court records reflect Sobel’s admission to practice law in Iowa in June 1983. In a previous disciplinary case in 2022, Sobel was reprimanded for leaving a criminal-defendant client in jail without contact for 64 days, despite the client’s repeated attempts to reach him. Additionally, he was accused of failing to communicate with a female criminal-defendant client, further highlighting a concerning pattern of neglect.

 

Source: Iowa Capital Dispatch