Attorneys Facing Disciplinary Action for DUI Setup of Opposing Counsel

Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins

In January 2013, Attorney Charles Campbell, Jr. was arrested for DUI after leaving a bar; driving a car belonging to a woman he just met.  Campbell’s DUI charges were far from routine and now the Florida Bar has found there is probable cause to discipline three other attorneys who were working for a different firm.

Campbell was representing a radio shock jock in a defamation suit against another shock jock at the time of his arrest.  The woman whose car he was driving was a paralegal from the opposing counsel’s firm, Adams and Diaco.  It appeared that the paralegal saw Campbell at the bar after a day in court in the defamation case and texted her boss.  She then befriended him and was drinking with him, not telling him whom she actually worked for.  Meanwhile, another attorney at the Adams and Diaco firm was texting a police sergeant with the Tampa Police Department, to the amount of nearly 100 text messages going between the two, as to when Campbell was going to be leaving the bar and what he was doing.  Campbell was arrested as he drove away from the bar in the paralegal’s car.  During the time he was in the jail for the arrest, Campbell’s trial notes and briefcase were in the paralegal’s car and, presumably, in control of the firm she worked for.

The case was dismissed some time later after evidence, including text message evidence, showed that it appeared the opposing counsel’s firm was working with police to have Campbell arrested for DUI.  The paralegal claimed no memory of that evening and then pled the fifth when she was being asked about the case.  The judge in the DUI case found that there was not enough credible evidence to charge Campbell since the evidence gathered by police was tainted.

On May 9, 2014, the Florida Bar opened up a path for an ethical complaint against three attorneys at Adams and Diaco for the incident.  While there has been no official complaint filed at this time, the likelihood that one will be filed is quite high.  Among the alleged ethical violations of the firm was using criminal action as leverage in a civil suit.  These ethical violations are against the attorney’s who acted in the incident, and the attorney who was their supervisor.  The highest possible disciplinary action they could face is total loss of their law licenses.

There are additional investigations going on as well to see if Campbell’s civil rights were violated because of the arrest.  Little is being said against this so far, but if evidence points to this being the case, there could possibly be a huge civil case between Campbell and the city for the arrest.  While investigators are looking in to the incident, at this time there have been no criminal charges filed.