On Friday, June 14, 2024, the Supreme Court of the State of Kansas suspended attorney Mark A. Samsel’s license to practice law for two years but stayed the suspension and placed him on probation for two years.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Mark A. Samsel,” with case no. 127,197.

The charges cited Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(b), 8.4(e), and 8.4(g). 

The Court’s decision came after Samsel entered into a summary submission agreement with the Disciplinary Administrator’s office in which he admitted to violating Rules of Professional Conduct related to criminal acts, misconduct, and conduct adversely reflecting on his fitness to practice law.

The admitted misconduct stems from Samsel’s behavior as a substitute teacher at Wellsville High School in April 2021. According to the stipulated facts, Samsel made several students uncomfortable by talking about topics like God, the devil, suicide, and mental health. He seemed particularly focused on one student, T.E., at one point grabbing and lifting the student from behind.

Samsel also pushed T.E. against a wall, leaving marks, and kicked or kneed the student in the groin area, causing him to fall to the ground in pain. Samsel asked T.E. if it hurt and told another student he could check T.E.’s “nuts” for him. Samsel was initially charged with three counts of misdemeanor battery against T.E. and another student but later pled guilty to three counts of disorderly conduct.

The Court also found that Samsel violated ethics rules through a letter he sent in July 2021 to opposing counsel and two employees of the Kansas State Department of Education regarding his substitute teacher license revocation proceedings. In the letter on his official state legislature letterhead, Samsel referenced his position and legislative work.

In mitigation, the Court considered evidence that Samsel was suffering from undiagnosed bipolar disorder during the relevant events and his misconduct was caused by a manic episode with psychotic symptoms. The Court also noted Samsel’s cooperation, absence of prior discipline, and successful recovery since beginning treatment.

As part of his two-year probation, Samsel must comply with treatment recommendations for his bipolar disorder, remain in therapy with his treating psychiatrist, and continue participation in Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program monitoring. Any noncompliance or new disciplinary complaints could result in an extension of the probationary period.

The Court accepted the joint recommendation of a stayed two-year suspension as an appropriate resolution of the case in light of the mitigating factors presented regarding Samsel’s mental health issues and recovery, balanced with the seriousness of his misconduct involving criminal conduct and improper influence in his administrative matter. Samsel will be allowed to continue practicing law under strict conditions during the probationary period.

According to avvo.com, Mr. Samsel is a commercial attorney in Wellsville, Kansas. He acquired his law license in Kansas in 2010. 

A copy of the original filing can be found here.