A Rumford attorney convicted of calling in bomb threats to the Wilton schools has submitted his resignation in the wake of a new charge of domestic violence terrorizing.
Ronald E. Hoffman, 54, of Sumner, is accused of threatening to harm his wife in a comment made Feb. 7 in front of workers at Rumford District Court.
J. Scott Davis, bar counsel for the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar, which regulates attorney conduct, told Justice Donald Alexander that Hoffman should have known better since he had been allowed to continue practicing law under special restrictions set following the bomb scare conviction.
“He just can’t say what he said to the court clerk and to the judicial officer who did not think it was a joke,” Davis said. He said an extensive investigation showed that Hoffman was talking about his wife’s intent to file for divorce when he said, “I’m going to blow her brains out.”
Davis added, “That’s exactly what a domestic violence alert is, and there’s no reason they should have thought it was just a joke, even though he said so.”
On Wednesday in Kennebec County Superior Court, Supreme Court Associate Justice Donald Alexander accepted Hoffman’s voluntary resignation, which is effective May 19 to allow him to finish work on some cases and turn over others to other attorneys.
Hoffman’s work is being monitored by another attorney under an order Alexander signed last Sept. 30, which imposed a two-year suspension from practice for Hoffman, but then suspended all of that time. That order says Hoffman has been licensed to practice law in Maine since 1997 and has had a solo practice based in Rumford since 2002. It also outlines the details of the bomb threats called in March 29, 2012, to Academy Hill and G. D. Cushing elementary schools in Wilton, which forced the evacuation of 360 children; the effect on the students and staff there; as well as a series of health problems Hoffman has suffered over the years.
Hoffman’s attorney, James Martemucci, said Hoffman wanted to resign because he thinks he has become a burden to the court and to his own family. He also said Hoffman has taken a job in New Hampshire and will be moving from Maine.
Martemucci told the judge Hoffman and his wife have separated and that a young foster child they had planned to adopt was returned to state custody recently.
With regard to the Feb. 7 incident, Martemucci said, “There was never an intent to scare, threaten or terrorize.” On Thursday, Martemucci said Hoffman’s “persona has always been someone who jokes,” but now he realizes that people can take that out of context because of publicity about his previous court conviction.
Martemucci said the voluntary resignation “is Ron’s way of taking responsibility for his actions.”
At the hearing, Martemucci asked the judge to allow Hoffman to petition for reinstatement sooner than the normal five-year period.
On Wednesday, Alexander declined to do that, saying one reason he imposed a “no action suspension” in September was because of the family structure and the support Hoffman gained from that.
Hoffman is scheduled to appear May 2 in Franklin County Superior Court on the charge of domestic violence. There is also a motion to revoke his administrative release.
On the convictions for the two misdemeanor terrorizing charges related to the bomb scares, Hoffman was sentenced to two consecutive 364-day sentences, both of which were suspended; and he was placed on administrative release for two years. A standard condition of administrative release is a requirement to avoid new criminal conduct.