On Thursday, October 6, 2022, the Supreme Court of the State of New Mexico disbarred Albuquerque Attorney Matthew O’Neill, Esq. based on his no-contest plea to child pornography.
The case is styled ‘In the Matter of Matthew O’Neill, Esq.’ and was brought by the Deputy Disciplinary Counsel, case no. 2020-03-4448.
The charges cited Rules of Professional Conduct 16-804(B) and 16-804(D).
O’Neill was found to have violated the above-cited rules by:
committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects; and
engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
The rules of professional conduct can be found on this link.
The following are as alleged and summarized from the filing:
Respondent O’Neill engaged in misconduct by having entered a no-contest plea to one count of Possession of Visual Medium of Sexual Exploitation (Child Under 13) and one count of Manufacturing Visual Medium of Sexual Exploitation of Children on March 11, 2020, in Cause No. D-202-CR-201902713.
The Deputy Disciplinary Counsel filed a Specification of Charges against O’Neill with the Disciplinary Board on April 27, 2020. He was summarily suspended from the practice of law in the State of New Mexico, by an order of the Court dated June 15, 2020.
The Chief Disciplinary Counsel submitted to the Board its Proposed Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Recommendation for Discipline, where it proposed that O’Neill be disbarred from the practice of law and that the costs be assessed against O’Neill.
The following are as stated the in the Findings of Fact:
‘In January 2019 during a service call on the computers of the Whitener law firm, where Respondent was then a partner the service technician discovered images of child pornography on Respondent’s computer.
Respondent had engaged in viewing child pornography for approximately two years prior to the discovery of the images on his computer.
Respondent downloaded images of children and saved them for personal use.
Respondent possessed approximately 460 child pornography images.
The images in Respondent’s possession included images of children as young as four years old.
Respondent was incarcerated for a period of five (5) months for his crime beginning in October 2020.”
Based on these facts, both the Hearing Committee and the Disciplinary Board unanimously recommended O’Neill’s misconduct based on his criminal conviction.
Accordingly, the Court ruled against respondent O’Neill and granted the Disciplinary Board’s findings of fact, conclusions of law, and its recommendations for discipline, and ordered his disbarment.
The dispositive part of the Order reads:
“IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent, MATHEW O’NEILL, is PERMANENTLY DISBARRED from the practice of law under Rule 17-206(A)(1) NMRA, effective immediately.”
Costs in the amount of $1,228.97 were assessed against O’Neill.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr. O’Neill graduated from DePaul University College of Law in 1997. He had been admitted to practice in New Mexico.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.