In the Matter of JAMES JOSEPH HAMM
Arizona Supreme Court No. SB-04-0079-M
211 Ariz 458, 123 p.3d 652, 2005
Petitioners: James Hamm
Petition: To review the recommendation provided by Committee on
Character and Fitness (the Committee) denying the Petitioner’s application
for admission to the State Bar of Arizona (the Bar).

Hamm, the Petitioner, was sentenced to life in prison for one-count of
first degree murder to which he pled guilty. Prior to serving his
sentence, Hamm had been separated from his wife with whom he had
a son and had supported himself by selling and using marijuana, other
drugs and drinking alcohol.


The crime for which Hamm was sentenced to life imprisonment is for
the murder of Morley and Well, who were killed by Hamm along with
two accomplices, Garland Wells and Bill Reeser. The three robbed and
killed Morley and Well by shooting them with a gun and leaving their
bodies lying in the dessert.


While in prison, Hamm exhibited good conduct and became a model
prisoner which earned him a conditioned parole. Hamm was released
after serving nearly seventeen years in prison. From conditioned
parole, Hamm absolutely discharged on December 2001.


While on parole, Hamm graduated from the Arizona State University
College of Law. In July 1999, Hamm passed the Arizona bar
examination and, in 2004, filed his Character and Fitness Report with
the Committee.


In its report, the Committee stated that, in reaching its conclusions, it
considered the following:

JONATHAN D. PAGADUANCASE DIGEST – Problem areas in legal Ethics

PENTECOSTES VS MARASIGAN ROLLY PENTECOSTES v. PAGADUANCASE DIGEST – Problem areas in legal Ethics . .Hamm’s failure to fulfill his long overdue obligation to support his child who he was aware existed.Hamm’s failure to disclose the incident involving him and his wife. when he submitted his application to the Committee. . . shot Morley without attempting robbery and shot hit again to ensure he is dead and shot Staples when he attempted to escape. HELD: No. ATTY. Hamm’s neglect of his financial responsibilities and/or violation of a longstanding child support court order and his testimony as to his failure to comply with the court order. Donna. the Supreme Court decided that Hamm failed to prove his burden that he is of good moral character on the following grounds: . HERMENEGILDO 529 SCRA 146 (2007) JONATHAN D.Hamm failed to show rehabilitation from past criminal conduct by not accepting full responsibility for serious criminal misconduct . Hamm’s mental or emotional instability impairing his ability to perform the functions of an attorney including his testimony as to any diagnosis and treatment.Staples’ murder although he accepted responsibility for the death of Morley.Hamm’s act of quoting lines from Supreme Courts’ decision and use the same in the introduction for his petition.   ISSUE: Whether or not Hamm can be admitted to the Bar. .2  Hamm’s unlawful conduct. which included the commission of two violent “execution style” murders and his testimony as to the facts surrounding the murders  Hamm’s omissions on his Application and his testimony in explaining his failure to disclose all required information. This incident gave rise to Hamm being questioned by the law enforcers which should have been reflected by Hamm in the application – Question 25.Hamm was not completely up-front in his testimony to the murder of which he claims that he only intended to rob and not to kill. This is contrary to the facts – he accepted the gun and brings it with him in the car.

3. North Cotabato. was administratively charged with grave misconduct and conduct unbecoming a public officer for the loss of a motorcycle-subject matter of a criminal case which was placed under his care and custody. for investigation. the owner of a Kawasaki motorcycle. Hermenegildo be dismissed because there was no proof of Pentecostes’ claim that the vehicle was ―cannibalized‖ from the time that it was under Atty. PAGADUANCASE DIGEST – Problem areas in legal Ethics .3 The clerk of court has the duty to safely keep all records. Clerk of Court VI of the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court North Cotabato. papers. exhibits and public property. exhibits and public property committed to his charge. report and recommendation.2. The administrative case against Atty. Judge Rabang recommended that the administrative complaint against Atty. which was recovered by members of the Philippine National Police of M’lang. Chapter VI of the 2002 Revised Manual for Clerks of Court) which provides all exhibits used as evidence and turned over to the court and before the case/s involving such evidence shall have been terminated shall be under the custody and safekeeping of the Clerkof Court. Hermenegildo is guilty of misconduct HELD: It is the duty of the clerk of court to keep safely all records. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) affirmed the dismissal of the complaint. The Regional Trial Court (RTC) referred the case to the Executive Judge of RTC.[12] Section D (4). files. Hermenegildo Marasigan. North Cotabato from suspected carnappers. paragraph 2. FACTS: Atty. papers. The release order for the motorcycle was issued but Pentecostes refused to receive it because it was already ―cannibalized‖ and unserviceable. ISSUE: Whether or not the Atty. 2004 by Rolly Pentecostes. JONATHAN D. Hermenegildo stemmed from a sworn affidavit complaint filed on November 11. Hermenegildo’s custody until its transfer to Philippine National Police (PNP) of Kabacan. files. Kabacan. Chapter VII of the 1991Manual For Clerks of Court (now Section E[2].

Hermenegildo. VS. Father Aquino alleged that Atty. Atty. Pascua falsified two documents committed as follows: JONATHAN D. it is clear that as clerk of court of the RTC. Their duties include the efficient recording. Hermenegildo was charged with the custody and safekeeping of Pentecostes’ motorcycle. the safekeeping of exhibits and public property committed to their charge. filing and management of court records and.4 From the above provisions.‖ Moreover disconcerting is the fact that the acknowledgment receipt evidencing the turnover of the motorcycle from the trial court to the Kabacan police station was lost from the records. The Court said ―no explanation was offered by Atty. Atty. Kabacan. and upon the prior authority of the trial court. and to keep it until the termination of the case. Hermenegildo as clerk of court. But whatever the reason was. a duty entrusted to Atty. Aquino et al. These circumstance are viewed with disfavor as it reflects badly on the safekeeping of court records. PAGADUANCASE DIGEST – Problem areas in legal Ethics . Ranhilio C. A Privilege Good Moral Character Fr. for turning over the motorcycle. The Court has repeatedly emphasized that clerks of court are essential and ranking officers of our judicial system who perform delicate functions vital to the prompt and proper administration of justice. Atty. with nary a lead as to who was responsible for it. barring circumstances that would justify its safekeeping elsewhere. Hermenegildo was mandated to secure prior consultations with and approval of the trial court. as previously pointed out. however. Edwin Pascua FACTS: Complainants: In his letter-complaint.

Atty. Patli. Pascua is guilty of misconduct in the performance of his duties while Atty. Pascua cannot escape liability. 1214. Lyn Elsie C. but they were not entered in his Notarial Register due to the oversight of his legal secretary. Whichever is the case. 1213 and 1214 on December 10. Book III. 1999. Page No. 1998. PAGADUANCASE DIGEST – Problem areas in legal Ethics . and that. certified that none of the above entries appear in the Notarial Register of Atty. Book III. dated December 10. Series of 1998. JONATHAN D. that the last entry therein was Document No. Pascua that it was simple inadvertence is far from true. Page 243. Acorda entering the same as "Doc. 1998. Garan and other complainants contend that Atty. Pascua claims that the omission was not intentional but due to oversight of his staff. Clerk of Court. No. HELD: Atty. No. Father Aquino further alleged that on June 23 and July 26. Pascua's omission was not due to inadvertence but a clear case of falsification. 1998". he could not have notarized Documents Nos. Tuguegarao. Respondent: In his comment on the letter-complaint dated September 4. 1998. 1213. 243. 1999. Regional Trial Court.5 (1) He made it appear that he had notarized the "Affidavit-Complaint" of one Joseph B. Series of 1998. 1200 executed on December 28. dated December 10. His failure to enter into his notarial register the documents that he admittedly notarized is a dereliction of duty on his part as a notary public and he is bound by the acts of his staff. whose affidavit was attached to his comment ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent is guilty of misconduct in theperformance of his duties. Pascua admitted having notarized the two documents on December 10. Atty. Pascua. Domingo entering the same as "Doc. Lina M. Atty. (2) He also made it appear that he had notarized the "Affidavit-Complaint" of one Remigio B. 1998. Angel Beltran. therefore. The claim of Atty.

with the CSC.6 The photocopy of his notarial register shows that the last entry which he notarized on December 28. 013 | Aug 22. Book III. Edwin Pascua is declared GUILTY of misconduct and is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for three (3) months with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar act will be dealt with more severely. 1213) was submitted only when Domingo's affidavit (Doc. This is not to mention that the only supporting evidence of the claim of inadvertence by Atty. The case defined Misconduct: "Misconduct" generally means wrongful. No. Noteworthy also is the fact that the questioned affidavit of Acorda (Doc. does not necessarily imply corruption or criminal intent. Fr. 2007 FACTS: JONATHAN D.[4] The term. under Page No. respectively. This circumstance lends credence to the submission of herein complainants that Atty. 1998 is Document No. 243.[5] In Re JBC vs. Judge Quitan JBC No. 1213. improper or unlawful conduct motivated by a premeditated. Pascua falsely assigned fictitious numbers to the questioned affidavit-complaints. 1998 are Document Nos. Pascua ante-dated another affidavit-complaint making it appear as notarized on December 10. On the other hand. 1998 and entered as Document No. 1998 and numbered as 1213 and 1214. Thus. therefore. It may not be sheer coincidence then that both documents are dated December 10. His notarial commission. 1214) was withdrawn in the administrative case filed by Atty. the two affidavit-complaints allegedly notarized on December 10. No. Ranhilio and the other complainants are. et al. obstinate or intentional purpose. a clear dishonesty on his part not only as a Notary Public. Pascua against LinaGaran. but also as a member of the Bar. PAGADUANCASE DIGEST – Problem areas in legal Ethics . is ordered REVOKED. correct in maintaining that Atty. WHEREFORE. 1213 and 1214. Atty. if still existing. Pascua is the affidavit of his own secretary which is hardly credible since the latter cannot be considered a disinterested witness or party. however. 1200 on Page 240.

the members thereof only inquired about the status of the criminal cases filed by the NAPOLCOM before the Sandiganbayan. the administrative cases filed against him and the fact that he was dismissed from service. 2003. 183 showing that respondent Judge was indeed dismissed from the service for Grave Misconduct for falsifying or altering the amounts reflected in disbursement vouchers in support of his claim for reimbursement of expenses. No Administrative Case was disclosed by Quitan in his PDS Deputy Court administrator Christopher Lock requested certifie true copies of the criminal cases relative to the administrative complaints filed against Quitan.) No. The Administrative order stated that Quitan was dismissed from service with forfeiture of pay and benefits. Subsequent thereto. this was signed by President Ramos himself. 2003 addressed to DCA Lock. Judge Quitain denied having committed any misrepresentation before the JBC. the NAPOLCOM furnished the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) a copy of A. Davao City. particularly Adminisrative Order 180 which dismissed Quitan from service. Branch 10. Regional Office 11.O. 183 dismissing him from the service. 1995.O. The DCA Lock directed Quitan to explain within 10 days from notce why he did not include in his Personal Data Sheet (PDS). In a letter dated October 22. and not about the administrative case simultaneously filed against him. 183 dated April 10. He also alleged that he never received from the Office of the President an official copy of A. PAGADUANCASE DIGEST – Problem areas in legal Ethics . 2003.O. Davao City on May 17. He alleged that during his interview. all were dismissed. the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) received confidential information that administrative and criminal charges were filed against Judge Quitain in his capacity as then Assistant Regional Director. In a letter dated November 28. National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM). JONATHAN D. which was sworn before a notary public . No.7 Judge Jaime Vega Quitain was appointed Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). as a result of which he was dismissed from the service per Administrative Order (A. No. In Personal Data Sheet (PDS) submitted to the JBC judge quitan declared that there were 5 criminal cases filed against him before the Sandiganbayan.

but without disclosing the fact that he was dismissed from government service.; and (2) that he be dismissed from the service with prejudice to his reappointment to any position in the government. he had no knowledge that he was administratively dismissed from the NAPOLCOM service as the case was “secretly heard and decided. tribunal or any other government office.8 The respondent said that during the administrative case by the NAPOLCOM one of its members suggested to him that he will no longer be persecuted if he tendered his resignation from the NAPOLCOM. 183 dismissing him from government service.” OCA submitted its Memorandum dated stating therein that it was adopting its earlier findings contained in its Memorandum. and with forfeiture of all retirement benefits except accrued leave credits. Quitan said that he did not disclose the administrative charge because he was of the honest belief that he had no more pending administrative case by reason of his resignation. They submitted a Memorandu. Question 24: Have you ever been charged with or convicted of or otherwise imposed a sanction for the violation of any law. to then Chief Justice Davide which read: An examination of the PDS submitted by Quitan with the JBC he concealed material facts and even committed perjury in having answered yes to question 24. it can not be denied that at the time Judge Quitain applied as an RTC judge. including government-owned or controlled corporations. PAGADUANCASE DIGEST – Problem areas in legal Ethics . Quitan contended that before he filed his application for RTC Judge with the JBC. No. Based on the documents presented. decree. This did not persuade Administrator Presbitero Velasco and DCA Lock that he should not be held administratively liable.O. agency or instrumentality in the Philippines or in any foreign country or found guilty of an administrative offense or imposed any administrative sanction? In the Mindanao Times quitan said: “I was dismissed from the NAPOLCOM office without due process” In the Mindanao Daily Inquirer: Quitan vowed to clear his name. The Secretary of the DILG accepted the resignation. The OCA recommended that: (1) the instant administrative case against respondent be docketed as an administrative matter. ISSUE: JONATHAN D. he had full knowledge of A. ordinance or regulation by any court.

No. 183. 1995 by no less than the former President of the Philippines No amount of explanation or justification can erase the fact that Judge Quitan was dismissed from public service and that he deliberately withheld this information. PAGADUANCASE DIGEST – Problem areas in legal Ethics . Judge Quitain failed to disclose that he was administratively charged and dismissed from the service for grave misconduct per A.9 W/N Judge Quitan concealed his Administrative Charges and Dismissal in the PDS and filed his application with knowledge of those preceedingly mentioned. Netither does his resignation render the administrative case Moot and Academic. His dismissal from the service is a clear proof of his lack of the required qualifications to be a member of the Bench. Judge Quitain was removed from office after investigation and was found guilty of grave misconduct.O. Resignation does not warrant the dismissal of the administrative complaint filed against him while he was still in service. HELD: Judge Quitan did not comply with the requirements that were set by Article VII Section 7(3) of the constitution. JONATHAN D.