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Disbarred Attorney Gerard Terry Seen Practicing Law
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Gerard Terry

Summary: Witnesses spotted disbarred politician Gerard Terry practicing law at the Nassau County Courthouse.

Gerard Terry was disbarred on September 25, 2017. However, he was seen practicing law, causing acting Supreme Court Justice Christopher Quinn to throw the former Town of North Hempstead Democratic leader behind bars.

  
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Officials are considering adding additional criminal charges against Terry. He was disbarred due to charges of state and federal tax fraud, of which he plead guilty to. He has not been sentenced for the charges yet.  Quinn did not explain if the allegations of Terry still practicing law were what prompted him to put Terry behind bars before his sentencing date but the timing is certainly coincidental.

Terry has been a part of Nassau County politics for over 25 years. He has had his hand in every political race since the 1980s and personally selected many of those who have become judges throughout the country.

He was seen practicing law in Nassau County District Court in Hempstead even though he was disbarred months ago after his class E felony of criminal tax fraud in the fourth degree. He was seen in the Landlord/Tenant section of the courthouse on May 2, 2018, practicing law. One person who spotted him took photos as evidence and told court personnel.

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A review of court documents by Great Neck Record shows that Terry presented himself in court as an attorney, representing Concetta Terry and Alicia Terry. He allegedly negotiated a settlement agreement and signed the settlement contract as “attorney of record.” The contract was filed with the court, which Landlord/Tenant courtroom judge James M. Darcy used when making the final court order.

Great Neck attorney Benjamin Brash of Rukab Brash PLLC believes the court order is now invalid and will need to be addressed. He said, “Both parties need to be represented by an attorney and that obviously didn’t happen. I expect that the court will have to take the highly unusual step of notifying all the litigants and requiring everyone to return to the courthouse with licensed attorneys. That’s the only way to ensure that everybody made properly informed decisions, based on sound legal advice. When people claim to be attorneys and they’re not, it creates huge problems for everyone.”



New York State Judiciary Code, Section 478, stipulates that disbarred attorneys are strictly prohibited from entering courtrooms and giving legal advice unless they are representing themselves. Disbarred attorneys who violate this law can be convicted of a felony.

Legal ethics expert and partner at Ullman, Furhman & Platt, Jeffrey Ullman, said, “The appearance of justice is undermined when a person not licensed to practice law practices law. People’s capacity to ignore the consequences of their own behavior is truly astonishing. Law is supposed to be an honorable profession and a lawyer who would practice law when he’s been disbarred dishonors himself and the profession. It embarrasses me as an attorney.”

Ullman went on to explain how these kinds of actions break down society’s values. “A disbarred lawyer who would do that erodes the very basis of how we live as a society. It undermines the basic essence of being a lawyer and the foundation of trust. The practice of law requires that highest degree of integrity and honesty. It erodes everything. Doing the right thing is doing the right thing,” Ullman added.

Terry was representing family, who are likely fully aware that he was disbarred but Ullman says this does not matter. “It’s absolutely not OK. Practicing law without a license is a crime. You can’t impersonate a lawyer.”

Another thing that Terry did wrong was failing to notify the disciplinary board so that his name was removed in an appropriate timeframe. Federal prosecutor Artie McConnell did not Terry released on bail after his guilty plea because of his history of “lying to government officials, filing false documents and using corporate shells and nominee accounts.” Judge Joanna Seybert decided to release Terry but explained there would be severe consequences if he committed any new crimes.”

He is now being held at Nassau County Correctional Center until his sentencing hearing May 29.

Do you think Terry should face consequences for practicing law without a license? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about other disbarred attorneys still practicing law, read these articles:

Photo: longroom.com



 

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