Before EASTERBROOK, Chief Judge, and CUDAHY and MANION, Circuit Judges.
The court issued an order directing at- torney Bridget Boyle-Saxton to show cause why she should not be subject to discipline, up to and including disbarrment, for the abandonment of her client in a criminal case (United States v. Rodriguez, No. 11-1590).
She did not respond to this order.
Before the court issued that order to show cause, it had issued four others because counsel failed to comply with her obligations to her client and the court. Three of these orders (including the latest) were ignored. Two prompted incomplete responses.
This criminal appeal was docketed on March 14, 2011. Under Fed. R. App. P. 31(a)(1), an opening brief is due 40 days after the record is filed. Counsel did not take the steps required to ensure that the transcript was pre- pared and the record filed. Indeed, she did not do anything in the appeal, omitting even the very first step: paying the filing and docketing fees. (She is retained counsel; her client has not sought leave to proceed in forma pauperis.)
On June 21, 2011, we directed counsel to show cause by June 28 why the appeal should not be dismissed because of her inaction. She did not reply to this order. On June 30 we issued another, directing a response by July 6. Meanwhile, on June 29, we issued an order directing Boyle-Saxton and another attorney, representing another defendant, to file opening briefs no later than August 1.
July 6 passed without a response from Boyle- Saxton. On July 25 she finally addressed the court's two outstanding orders. She said that she had done nothing because she believed that her client did not want to appeal, and that she planned to dismiss the appeal. She did not pay the filing fees in order to protect her client's rights should this understanding be mistaken. Nor did she seek additional time to file an opening brief.
On August 2 we suspended the two extant orders to show cause and directed counsel to file, no later than August 31, either the papers necessary to dismiss the appeal if Rodriguez truly did not want to proceed, see Circuit Rule 31, or an opening brief.
August 31 passed without action. Counsel did not move to dismiss the appeal. She did not pay the required fees. She did not file a brief. She did not seek additional time to file a brief. The lawyer for Rodriguez's co-defen- dant sought and was granted several extensions of time because the court reporter had been slow in preparing the transcript (which he had ordered). But Boyle-Saxton did nothing.
On October 31, 2011, we issued the third order to show cause, this time directing counsel to explain by November 8 why she had not responded to the order of August 2, had not paid the appellate fees, and had not filed a brief (or even a motion for an extension of time). On November 3 she asked for more time to file a brief, representing that an additional five to seven days would suffice. Chief Judge Easterbrook entered an order extending the time to November 10. This order added: "Attorney Boyle-Saxton is reminded to respond to the court's order dated October 31, 2011, by November 8, 2011."
November 8 came and went without a response to the outstanding order to show cause. November 10 came and went without a brief for Rodriguez. (The co- defendant's brief had been filed on November 4.) On November 22 the court entered a fourth order to show cause, this time directing Boyle-Saxton to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken on ac- count of her continuing failure to comply with this court's orders.
Boyle-Saxton's latest filing, dated November 29 (and filed on November 30), did not meet her obligations. It did not explain why she let so many deadlines pass without action. It did not address the disciplinary issues the court raised. Instead counsel asked for a further five days to file a brief, representing that she "will have the brief filed by December 2, 2011." She stated that she had surgery in early November, that she mistakenly thought she had earlier asked for (and been granted) four weeks instead of one (though there is absolutely no ambiguity in her motion of November 3, or the order the Chief Judge entered the next day), and that she has been busy representing her clients at trials in state court. She stated that one trial lasted from November 14 through 17, and that another was held on November 21.
It is apparent from this final motion for additional time that Boyle-Saxton elected to put work for other clients ahead of her obligations to Rodriguez and this court. That is unprofessional; lawyers have an ethical obligation to take no more work than they can per- form. Moreover, counsel has never even offered an ex- planation for ignoring orders this court has entered, directing her to respond by specified dates. Nor has she explained why she had ...