A Sioux Falls Attorney and South Dakota House candidate accused of breaking the law, will no longer practice law in South Dakota. Mary Ann Giebink has given up her law license after she was arrested following a police chase and drug and alcohol charges.
The 50-year-old faces charges of drunken driving, eluding and marijuana possession following a police chase on May 7th. Since then, Giebink's handed in her resignation, and the South Dakota Supreme Court granted the disbarment. We sat down with a South Dakota attorney who deals with the discipline process.
Nearly a month ago, the Minnehaha County sheriff's department says this is where a police chase ended during the early morning hours on May 7th. Former Sioux Falls attorney and candidate for South Dakota's House, Mary Ann Giebink faces several charges following the chase. Since then, Giebink's law license has been revoked.
“I know that she did resign,” Frieberg said.
Attorney Bob Frieberg has been the counsel to the Disciplinary Board of the State Bar for the past 10 years. He says after an attorney resigns, it's up to the South Dakota Supreme Court to grant a disbarment, which they did on May 20th.
"There are very strict requirements for moral conduct, a lawyer is free to be a person outside of his or her professional life, but even then, if you're personally conduct outside of your practice is such that it brings disrespect to the profession of is evidence that you're not fit to be doing this, the court can still impose a sanction,” Frieberg said.
Frieberg says the Judgement isn't common in South Dakota, but when an attorney is disciplined, it's a process that can take anywhere from days to months to issue a decision. He says being disbarred from practicing is the harshest punishment. And once an attorney loses his or her license, it's a 5 year wait before he or she can re-apply to be reinstated.
"If it's an unusual circumstance, after 5 years, most people either decide that it's not a good thing for them to be doing, and if they're offenses were particularly serious or involved particular moral misconduct, it's pretty tough to convince the court again, that you're morally fit to be an attorney,” Frieberg said.
Frieberg says there was one disbarment in 2009. He also says there are two other sanctions that can be imposed, such as a suspension of up to 3 years.