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The Florida Bar v. Bailey

Supreme Court of Florida
803 So. 2d 683 (2001)


Attorney F. Lee Bailey (defendant) represented Claude Duboc in a criminal case in which Duboc was accused of smuggling drugs. Bailey negotiated a deal with the government for Duboc that included Duboc’s guilty plea, return of assets to the government in exchange for a more lenient sentence, and payment of Bailey’s attorney’s fees. Bailey proposed to Duboc that Bailey and Duboc segregate stock that Duboc owned from other assets that Duboc was to forfeit to the government, because the stock value would appreciate over time, and Bailey planned to argue that the appreciation of the stock value could not be forfeited. As advised, Duboc turned over his cash accounts to the government, but he turned his stock over to Bailey. Bailey was entrusted with liquidating the stock and transferring the proceeds to the government. Instead, Bailey sold the stock and deposited the money into his own bank account, rather than a client trust account. Bailey did not transfer the value of the stock to the government until almost one month later. Bailey also sold shares of the stock and spent the proceeds on his personal expenses. The Florida Bar (plaintiff) filed a complaint against Bailey, alleging seven counts of misconduct, including misappropriating trust funds and commingling assets. The referee found Bailey guilty on most counts and found that permanent disbarment was warranted because of the severity of the violations. Bailey petitioned the Supreme Court of Florida for review.

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