This petition is for documenting widespread support of a formal complaint to the Florida Bar Association against attorneys George Felos of Dunedin, Florida, and Deborah Bushnell of Dunedin, Florida, for numerous aggravated violations of Rules Regulating the Florida Bar,section 4, Rules of Professional Conduct.

These numerous violations occurred in conjunction with a press release (http://zimp.org/documents/felospr032904.pdf) issued by Attorney George Felos on March 29, 2004, and subsequently acted upon legally by attorney Deborah Bushnell (http://zimp.org/documents/bushnell032904.jpg), thereby incorporating her involvement and compounding the violations.

A description of the violations with referenced excerpts from the appropriate sections of the Rules of Professional Conduct follows. Referenced excerpts from the Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions are also included. Please note that the http addresses for the complete text of supporting documents are found in parenthesis within the text of each violation.

This petition, along with its signatures, shall be attached as an additional supporting document to the formal complaint form presented to the Florida Bar, Department of Lawyer Regulation.

By signing this petition, you are showing support for this complaint against George Felos and Deborah Bushnell. Additionally, you are supporting the petitioners and the Florida Bar in bringing sanctions against lawyers George Felos and Deborah Bushnell of the highest order and comparable to the enormous gravity of the severity, number, and flagrancy of their violations. You further agree that the sanctions should be equal in severity to the enormous injury caused by George Felos and Deborah Bushnell to the Schindler family, the administration of justice in this case, and to the integrity of the legal system of this state. Thank you for your support.

VIOLATIONS:

1)Mr. Felos filed the attached press release (http://zimp.org/documents/felospr032904.pdf) on March 29, 2004 without any factual basis or confirmation of investigation. Neither can he, at this time declare any plausible good faith argument on the merits of this action. Taking advantage of the precipitous nature of this press release, as well as harassment and malicious injury to the Schindler family were his and his clients sole frivolous intentions.
Violation : Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 4-3.1 MERITORIOUS CLAIMS AND CONTENTIONS
A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding,
or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there
is a basis for doing so that is not frivolous,....
"The advocate lawyer has a duty to use legal procedure for the
fullest benefit of the clients cause, but also a duty not to
abuse legal procedure.
"The action is frivolous, however, if the client desires to
have the action taken primarily for the purpose of harassing
or maliciously injuring a person...

2)Mr. Felos sent out press release (http://zimp.org/documents/felospr032904.pdf) after normal business hours, in spite of himself, his client, and his colleague, Deborah Bushnell being aware of the supposed incident hours before the end of business that day. Mr. Felos not only delayed, but failed to inform the Schindlers of his intent to assert this issue that would clearly affect pending proceedings concerning their visitation rights. The first the Schindlers learned of this supposed harm to their daughter was when a local TV station called them, asking for comment on the press release. Mr. Felos press release resulted in a media firestorm to which the parents were helpless to respond.
Violation : Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 4-3.2 EXPEDITING LITIGATION
Delay should not be indulged merely for the purpose of
frustrating an opposing partys attempt to obtain
rightful redress or repose.

3) According to a Court Order issued in 1996 (http://zimp.org/documents/1996\%20Court\%20Order.pdf), Mr. Felos and his client were ordered to inform the Schindlers immediately of any change in Terris medical condition. If Terris condition was so grave and required transport to the hospital, his call should have been to them rather than the press.
Violation: Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 4-3.4 FAIRNESS TO OPPOSING PARTY AND COUNSEL
(c) A lawyer shall not knowingly disobey an obligation
under the rules of a tribunal...

4) If Mr. Felos was prepared to imply the Schindlers guilt or openly accuse them of felony assault and/or battery, as he did in this press release, then he must not delay their attempts to obtain rightful redress or repose to such public accusations. Mr.. Felos not only failed to ever inform the Schindlers of his intended public accusations, but aided and counseled his client in preventing the Schindlers any access at all to determine Terris condition, the extent or nature of her injuries, or evidence implicating them as the source of her injuries.
Violation: Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 4-3.4 FAIRNESS TO OPPOSING PARTY AND COUNSEL
(a)A lawyer shall not unlawfully obstruct another
partys access to evidence or otherwise unlawfully
alter,destroy, or conceal a document or other material
that the lawyer knows or should reasonably know is
relevant to a pending or reasonably foreseeable
proceeding; nor counsel or assist another person to do
any such act.

5)According to the subsequent police report (http://zimp.org/pr/), released only after tremendous public pressure to do so, the head nurse advised Michael Schiavo upon her initial contact with him that the attending nurses aide admitted having seen the marks on Terris arms before the Schindlers ever arrived for their visit. If he was aware of this fact, then one can only assume that Mr. Felos and Ms. Bushnell were also aware of it. If they were not, then they both had the responsibility to take immediate and reasonable remedial measures following the release of the police report. These measures would have to include publicly advising the court, the Schindlers and their attorney, and the same media channels and organizations as were provided the press release, of the falsities within the press release and their source.
Violation: Rules of Professional Conduct
RULE 4-3.3(a)(4) CANDOR TOWARD THE TRIBUNAL
False Evidence; Duty to Disclose. A lawyer shall not
knowingly permit Any witness , including a criminal
defendant, to offer testimony or other
evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. If a lawyer
has offered material evidence and thereafter comes to
know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take
reasonable remedial measures.
4-3.3 Comment, False Evidence Upon ascertaining that
material evidence is false, if it has been offered, the
lawyer should seek to persuade the client that its false
character should immediately be disclosed.

6) Mr. Felos sent press release (http://zimp.org/documents/felospr032904.pdf) to nearly two dozen local, national and international media organizations, including the BBC and AP wire services. In the press release prepared and distributed by Mr. Felos, he not only offers absolute confirmation of false evidence, but is quoted in several instances by the reporter indicating he spoke directly to her. He also describes in vivid detail Terris physical condition and the alleged wounds. He clearly and falsely implies first-hand knowledge of this evidence that he did not possess. While his disgustingly transparent ruse to engage in misconduct allowed him to suggest in his own release that he stopped short of slanderously accusing the Schindlers of committing a felony, the attached letter (http://zimp.org/documents/bushnell032904.jpg) from
Ms. Bushnell clearly states a battery has been committed on Terri, and suggests that it occurred while they were visiting. She also perpetuates this false evidence without the first-hand knowledge her words imply. It should also be noted that this letter was faxed nearly an hour after Felos press release went out. This means Ms. Bushnell was aware of the falsity of this evidence and was complicit in its distribution for her own benefit and that of her client,knew of the falsity and Felos misconduct and failed to report it, or failed to make immediate remedial measures upon gaining knowledge of its falsities.
Violation: Rules of Professional Conduct
RULE 4-3.6 TRIAL PUBLICITY
(a) Prejudicial Extrajudicial Statements Prohibited. A
lawyer shall not make an extrajudicial statement that a
reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by
means of public communication if the lawyer knows or
reasonably should know that it will have a substantial
likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative
proceeding due to its creation of an imminent and
substantial detrimental effect on that proceeding.

RULE 4-4.1 TRUTHFULNESS IN STATEMENTS TO OTHERS
In the course of representing a client a lawyer shall
not knowingly...
(a)Make a false statement of material fact or law to a
thirdperson;
Comment: Misrepresentation: A misrepresentation can
occur if the lawyer incorporates or affirms a statement
of another person that the lawyer knows is false.
Misrepresentations can also occur by failure to act.

RULE 4-8.3 REPORTING PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT
(a) Reporting Misconduct of Other Lawyers. A lawyer having
knowledge that another lawyer has committed a violation of
the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial
question as to that lawyers honesty,trustworthiness, or
fitness as a lawyer in other respects shall inform the
apropriate professional authority. Comment: Self
regulation of the legal profession requires that members
of the profession initiate disciplinary
investigation when they know of a violation of the
Rules of Professional Conduct. Lawyers have a similar
obligation with respect to judicial misconduct. An
apparently isolated violation may indicate a pattern
of misconduct that only a disciplinary investigation can
uncover. Reporting a violation is especially important
where the victim is unlikely to discover the offense.

RULE 4-8.4 MISCONDUCT
A lawyer shall not: (a) violate or attempt to violate the
Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce
another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;
(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or
misrepresentation;
(d) engage in conduct in connection with the practice of law
that is prejudicial to the administration of justice,
including to knowingly, or through callous indifference,
disparage, humiliate, or discriminate against litigants,
witnesses,....on any basis...
Comment: ....Although a lawyer is personally answerable to
the entire criminal law, a lawyer should be professionally
answerable only for offenses that indicate lack of those
characteristics relevant to the practice of law.
Offenses involving violence, dishonesty, or breach of trust
or serious interference with the administration of
justice are in that category.
Subdivision (d) of this rule proscribes conduct that is
prejudicial to the administration of justice. Such
proscription includes the prohibition against
discriminatory conduct committed by a lawyer while performing
duties in connection with the practice of law. The
proscription extends to any characteristic or status that
is not relevant to the proof of any legal or factual
issue in dispute. Such conduct, when directed towards
litigants ....subverts the administration of justice and
undermines the publics confidence in our system of
justice, as well as notions of equality.

7) Considering the knowledge that the alleged injuries to Terri existed prior to the Schindlers visit, Mr. Felos clearly assisted his client, Michael Schiavo, in offering false evidence to the police department. He assisted his client in conduct that he knew to be fraudulent. By declaring a plastic cap from Terris feeding tube apparatus to be a needle cap, he assisted his client in fabricating evidence. He engaged with his client in a dishonest and fraudulent deception to misrepresent evidence of a crime to the police department. While uttering an unfounded, dishonest, and slanderous reference to a number of medical experts (http://zimp.org/documents/felospr032904.pdf), Mr. Felos publicly suggests the Schindlers are guilty of a heinous felony act against their own daughter, and Ms Bushnell states in her letter (http://zimp.org/documents/bushnell032904.jpg) that felony investigations have already been initiated by the police and the Department of Children and Families, presumably at her request, based on the same fabricated evidence.
These actions can only be interpreted as a threat to bring criminal charges against the Schindlers. Surely their public comments and conduct would be found prejudicial in any related proceeding that might follow in the administration of justice, and one can only assume that they pursued this conduct fully expecting proceedings to follow if they were telling the truth.
Violation: Rules of Professional Conduct
RULE 4-3.3 CANDOR TOWARD THE TRIBUNAL
Comment: .....The lawyers duty not to assist witnesses,
including the lawyers own client, in offering false
evidence stems from the Rules of Professional Conduct,
Florida statutes, and caselaw.

Rule 4-1.2(d) prohibits the lawyer from assisting a client
in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know
is criminal or fraudulent.
Rule 4-3.4(b) prohibits a lawyer from fabricating
evidence or assisting a witness to testify falsely.
Rule 4-8.4(a) prohibits the lawyer from violating the Rules
of Professional Conduct or knowingly assisting another
to do so.
Rule 4-8.4(c) prohibits a lawyer from engaging in conduct
involving dishonesty,fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
Rule 4-8.4(d) prohibits a lawyer from engaging in conduct
that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.
RULE 4-3.4 FAIRNESS TO OPPOSING PARTY AND COUNSEL
A lawyer shall not (g) present, participate in presenting,
or threaten to present criminal charges solely to obtain
an advantage in a civil matter.

The Florida Bar Law Practice Regulation Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions

5.0 Violations of Duties Owed to the Public
5.1 Failure To Maintain Personal Integrity
5.11(f) Disbarment is appropriate when a lawyer engages in any
other intentional conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit,
or misrepresentation that seriously adversely reflects on the
lawyers fitness to practice.
5.2 Failure to Maintain the Public Trust
5.21 Disbarment is appropriate when a lawyer in an official or
governmental position (officer of the court) knowingly misuses the
position with the intent to obtain a significant benefit or
advantage for himself or another (client), or with the intent to
cause serious or potentially serious injury to a party or to the
integrity of the legal process.
6.0 Violations of Duties Owed to the Legal System
6.1 False Statements, Fraud, and Misrepresentation
6.11(b) Disbarment is appropriate when a lawyer improperly
withholds material information, and causes serious or potentially
serious injury to a party,or causes a significant adverse effect on
the legal proceeding.
6.2 Abuse of the Legal Process
6.21 Disbarment is appropriate when a lawyer knowingly violates a
court order or rule with the intent to obtain a benefit for the
lawyer or another, and causes serious injury or potentially serious
injury to a party or causes serious or potentially serious
interference with a legal proceeding.
7.0 Violations of Other Duties Owed as a Professional
7.1 Disbarment is appropriate when a lawyer intentionally
engages in conduct that is a violation of a duty owed as a
professional (failure to report professional misconduct) with the
intent to obtain a benefit for the lawyer or another, and causes
serious or potentially serious injury to a client, the public, or
the legal system.
9.0 Aggravation and Mitigation
9.2 Aggravation
9.22Factors which may be considered in aggravation. Aggravating
factors include: (b) dishonest or selfish motive; (g) refusal to
acknowledge wrongful nature of conduct; (h) vulnerability of
victim;(i) substantial experience in the practice of
law;

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Cecilia MataBy:
HealthIn:
Petition target:
The Florida Bar

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