On Monday, February 12, 2024, the Supreme Court of the State of North Dakota suspended attorney David R. Spencer from practicing law for 30 days due to showing up intoxicated to multiple court appearances.

The case is entitled, “Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of the State of North Dakota v. David R. Spencer,” with case no. 2024 ND 28.

According to the court order, Spencer had appeared in court on two occasions in January 2023 smelling of alcohol. Both times, court security officers and prosecutors noticed an odor of alcohol coming from Spencer. When asked if he wanted to take a sobriety test or sign an affidavit stating he was not intoxicated, Spencer declined. This led to scheduled hearings needing to be rescheduled.

The hearing panel concluded that Spencer’s conduct violated North Dakota Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4 by showing up to court intoxicated on two occasions in an attempt to represent a client, which would violate Rule 1.1 regarding competence. As Spencer did not respond to the disciplinary petition, the charges contained within were deemed admitted.

In addition to the 30-day suspension, the court placed Spencer on probation for two years with conditions. He must undergo a mental health evaluation, receive ongoing treatment, and attend weekly sobriety support meetings which will be monitored. Spencer also needs to submit quarterly self-monitoring reports and participate in the Lawyer Assistance Program.

While the panel had recommended a 90-day suspension, the Supreme Court found 30 days to be a more appropriate sanction. Upon completion of the suspension and any probation terms, Spencer may apply for reinstatement. He was also ordered to pay $250 in costs for the disciplinary proceedings.

According to avvo.com, Mr. David R. Spencer is a criminal defense attorney in Minot, North Dakota. He attended Thomas M. Cooley Law School and acquired his law license in North Dakota in 2014.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.