In re Application of Heckman (Slip Opinion)

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[Until this opinion appears in the Ohio Official Reports advance sheets, it may be cited as In re Application of Heckman, Slip Opinion No. 2021-Ohio-2474.] NOTICE This slip opinion is subject to formal revision before it is published in an advance sheet of the Ohio Official Reports. Readers are requested to promptly notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of Ohio, 65 South Front Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215, of any typographical or other formal errors in the opinion, in order that corrections may be made before the opinion is published. SLIP OPINION NO. 2021-OHIO-2474 IN RE APPLICATION OF HECKMAN. [Until this opinion appears in the Ohio Official Reports advance sheets, it may be cited as In re Application of Heckman, Slip Opinion No. 2021-Ohio-2474.] Attorneys—Character and fitness—Applications to register as candidate for admission to practice of law—Past criminal conduct—Lack of candor— Application disapproved and applicant permitted to reapply for admission at a later date, on conditions. (No. 2021-0256—Submitted May 12, 2021—Decided July 22, 2021.) ON REPORT by the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness of the Supreme Court, No. 776. _______________________ Per Curiam. {¶ 1} Applicant, William Michael Heckman, of Montague, Michigan, is a 2015 graduate of the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. He applied to register as a candidate for admission to the practice of law in Ohio in July 2019. SUPREME COURT OF OHIO Although he applied to take the September/October 2020 bar exam, he withdrew that application but proceeded with the character-and-fitness review process. {¶ 2} Two members of the Toledo Bar Association’s admissions committee interviewed Heckman in January 2020 and recommended that his application be denied. The bar association’s seven-member review committee then conducted a second interview of Heckman. Citing its concerns regarding Heckman’s emotional instability, alcohol usage, and lack of candor regarding his unsuccessful applications for admission to the Michigan and Indiana bars, the admissions committee recommended that Heckman’s application be disapproved. Heckman appealed that recommendation to the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness. See Gov.Bar R. I(14). {¶ 3} A three-member panel of the board conducted a hearing on January 22, 2021. After considering Heckman’s testimony and exhibits, the panel concluded that he had failed to present clear and convincing evidence that he currently possesses the requisite character, fitness, and moral qualifications to practice law in Ohio. The panel recommended that (1) his application be denied, (2) he be permitted to reapply no earlier than January 15, 2023, and (3) he be required to submit to an evaluation by the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program (“OLAP”) and successfully complete any treatment program recommended by OLAP before reapplying for admission to the Ohio bar. The board adopted the panel’s report and recommendation. Facts Alcohol-Related Offenses {¶ 4} In 1990, Heckman was arrested in Arizona for driving while under the influence of alcohol. The following year, he was convicted in Florida for public consumption of alcohol. Several years later, he was charged in Michigan with driving while having a suspended driver’s license, although the …

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