Here’s an opinion which might interest South Florida’s criminal defense bar. Today, May 30, 2013, the Florida Supreme Court has disbarred a former Fort Lauderdale Police Officer named Daniel Mark Zavadil. In Florida Board of Bar Examiners re: Daniel Mark Zavidil, No. SC11-1694, Zavadil applied to the Bar in 2007. Zavadil, slip op. pg. 1. Although he passed the bar exam, the background investigation revealed information from his days as a police officer which required further inquiry. He attended an investigative hearing in 2009, submitted a 21 page brief on legal ethics, and was admitted in 2010. However, the investigation continued, and the Bar held another formal hearing in 2011. Zavadil, slip op., pg. 2. Based on the testimony and argument presented at the formal hearing, the Board of Bar Examiners recommended disbarment of Zavadil. Id. at pg. 8. The Court adopted the recommendation and has disbarred him for 18 months. Id. at pgs. 14-15.
What did Zavadil do that merited disbarment? In short, he failed to disclose in his bar application several events which occurred while he was a Fort Lauderdale PD officer which reflected on his truthfulness and candor, and failed to testify truthfully and candidly in his defense. See id at pgs. 13-14. According to the opinion, Zavadil failed to disclose: (1) the fact that his supervisor filed a complaint against him for “discrepancies, omissions, and misinformation in Zavadil’s reports, as well as a pattern of ‘misrepresenting the facts in order to shift responsibility for [his] identified deficiencies;’” (2) that on November 18, 2008, he received a letter from the Chief of Police, notifying him that he would be suspended for three days, effective in January 2009; (3) that the suspension was rescinded by the City of Fort Lauderdale after Zavadil filed a complaint for injunctive relief in the circuit court; and, (4) the fact that in 2009, Zavadil was relieved from patrol duty, with pay, effective immediately. Slip op., pgs. 3-6. The Board of Bar Examiners also found Zavadil’s testimony was “lacking in candor, misleading, and evasive.” See id at pg. 8.
Zavadil’s Florida Bar profile already reflects his disbarment.