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State Supreme Court won't discipline lawyer for '04 fatal OWI crash

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The State Supreme Court decided Friday not to discipline a northern Wisconsin lawyer because he killed his brother in a drunk driving crash.  

The justices agreed with a court appointed referee who said the accident "does not reflect adversely" on Daniel Johns' "honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer."  

The Supreme Court also refused to reprimand Johns -- of Manitowish Waters -- for not reporting his 2004 OWI homicide conviction to the state's lawyer regulating body.  

The Office of Lawyer Regulation found out about it when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in 2009 that over 130 Wisconsin attorneys had criminal records -- and some lawyers like Johns kept their law licenses during their punishments.  

The OLR recommended a 60 day suspension for the fatal crash, and not reporting it. The Supreme Court said the failure to report it was a technical violation.  

However, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson said there needs to be a full review of the state's system for disciplining lawyers.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)