A former Anoka County district judge who was removed from the bench because he was living outside his district now can practice law again.
Alan Pendleton filed an affidavit seeking reinstatement after his law license was suspended in March for 90 days. The director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility did not oppose Pendleton’s request.
In the order signed by Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice David Stras, Pendleton is “conditionally reinstated,” pending the completion of the professional responsibility portion of the state bar exam. Failure to do so will result in automatic re-suspension, according to the order.
“I’m very happy,” Pendleton said. “I’m glad I’m reinstated. When I was removed, for a while, I thought it was the end of the world for me.”
Pendleton said he currently has no plans to practice law but is pursuing a “third career.”
“I’ve come out of this far better than I thought,” he said.
In a petition for disciplinary action filed against Pendleton in December, the director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility asked the state Supreme Court to suspend Pendleton’s law license for 90 days. The court agreed in an order filed in March.
Pendleton was removed from office in October after he lied to voters about his residence on his affidavit of candidacy. He was living in his wife’s house in Minnetonka, which is in Hennepin County, for eight months starting in December 2013.
In its 39-page decision for removal, the court agreed to the harshest penalty. The majority’s decision said, “In order for the public to have confidence in the integrity of the judicial system, the public must believe that there is an effective system in place to ensure judges abide by our Constitution and follow their ethical obligations.”