Are lawyers convicted of crimes treated more harshly by judges than non-lawyers?

The story linked below made me wonder whether Judges typically take a harsher line with attorneys that break the law, in that they are officers of the court and should behave ethically, or do they they treat them more like ordinary citizens who screwed up, and being a lawyer doesn’t count against them?
Berlin Attorney Pleads Guilty to Obstructing Drug Investigation

Regardless of what the Judge does to him in sentencing, this guy is going to face a harsher total punishment than a layman would, because he will also likely get disbarred. At least in my state, pleading guilty to a felony other than certain tax crimes or manslaughter is an automatic disbarment. (They may have removed the tax crimes provision, but I think the manslaughter exception is still on the books). Depending on state law, he may or may not be eligible to apply for reinstatement when he gets out of prison.

I know that here in Columbus a practicing attorney got away with a LOT more than others convicted of the same crimes - so much so that he just kept on with the partying and cocaine and screwing clients and failing drug tests until he now is disbarred and in jail. Several years after he should have been.

I have a friend who was disbarred for drug-related offences and three felonies (acting as an attorney while law license was suspended). It took her almost 8 years to be allowed to retake the bar exam and be reinstated, and she jumped through more flaming hoops than a circus poodle.

Rightly so.

The Bar has a special dark corner for offenses of moral turpitude.

Yup. My state just instituted a new rule, allowing any member of the bar to submit comments or concerns regarding any petition for reinstatement. They’ve also tightened up the rules on reinstatement quite a bit in recent years. For what this guy has done, I don’t think he’d ever get reinstated down here, unless possibly he could produce Jesus as a character witness…but that would understandably delay the proceedings as the lawyers tried to figure out why everyone else was floating up in Rapture.

In judicial systems where the judges are themselves former attorneys (and that’s most of them - Germany’s an exception), there is perhaps a tendency for the judge to look with particular opprobrium at a lawyer who has transgressed - or is deemed to have transgressed - since he or she is considered to be “letting the side down”. (Cynics might say that there is an element of that especial scorn and vilification reserved for whistleblowers in a judge’s desire to put away a lawyer who threatens to reveal problems with the legal system, or more broadly, perhaps, with the disciplined services system - police, police watchdogs, etc…)

It is certainly a common human trait that members of a certain group, especially a powerful group such as the judiciary, will wish to preserve the perceived integrity of their profession, even if this leads to, as occasion demands, alliances that a naive outsider might consider unexpected (and, incidentally, for that reason, beyond suspicion or censure). As the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

I would say that a lawyer would often be particularly harshly judged for a charge of obstructing justice. We are supposed to be officers of the court. That said, sometimes it’s “You say obstruction, I say vigorous defence.” Probably not in this case, though.

I agree “vigorous defence” ain’t gonna fly here, where the lawyer actually destroyed and consumed evidence. It’s a touchy situation that would require careful thought, but this lawyer chose the worst possible solution under the circumstances. I think the safest course of action for the lawyer here would have been to do nothing. He has no obligation to call the missing drugs to the attention of the authorities, and he certainly can’t tell anyone else about them.

A more risky, but probably non-disbarring approach might be to advise the client that the cops could return for another search at any time, and that if they did so and found any additional drugs on the premises, same would likely be admissable evidence of the crime. Don’t think a lawyer would get disbarred for the logical inferences that might be drawn from that bit of advice.