VIRGINIA: IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE COUNTY OF SCOTT
VIRGINIA STATE BAR EX REL.
TENTH, SECTION II DISTRICT SUBCOMMITTEE,
Case No. CL03-47
VSB Docket No. 03-102-1834
DONALD GREGORY BAKER,
On the 25th day of November, 2003, pursuant to the Supreme Court of Virginia Rules of Court Part 6, Section IV, ¶13(B)(5)(c) and Code of Virginia Section 54.1-3935(B), came the Virginia State Bar, by Richard E. Slaney, Assistant Bar Counsel, and the Respondent, Donald Gregory Baker, Esq., by his counsel, Russell V. Palmore, Jr., Esq. and Stephen D. Otero, Esq., and presented to the Court an Agreed Disposition arising out of the Complaint and Rule to Show Cause filed in the above-referenced matter. The Agreed Disposition is attached to this Order and incorporated herein by this reference. After hearing the argument of counsel, the Court retired to deliberate and thereafter voted to accept the Agreed Disposition. As such, the Court FINDS the following facts:
1. At all times material to this matter, the Respondent, Donald Gregory Baker (Baker or Respondent) was an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
2. In the mid to late-1990's, Baker sought an appointment from the General Assembly as a full-time Judge.
3. In furtherance of that desire, in 1997 and again in 1999, Baker completed Judicial Selection Questionnaires directed to the General Assembly's Committee for Courts of Justice. In response to question 21 of each questionnaire asking if Baker had ever been arrested or charged for violation of any state or local law, Baker answered "no". Baker also responded in the negative to question 23 of both questionnaires asking if he had ever been a party to any legal proceeding.
4. In 1999, Baker was appointed as a Judge of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of the Thirtieth Judicial Circuit.
5. In fact, in early 1994, Baker was arrested and convicted of solicitation for prostitution in the City of Richmond, Virginia, a crime and a violation of City Ordinance 20-81.
6. In mitigation of Bakerís conduct, Bakerís counsel presented to the Bar substantial proof that both before and after disclosure of the facts in paragraph 5 above, Baker enjoyed a reputation as an exemplary jurist, an opinion shared both by members of the legal profession and laypersons. Baker resigned his judgeship in February of 2003 and has not practiced law since that time. Baker has no prior disciplinary record with the Bar.
As a consequence of the facts set forth above, the Court FINDS Baker violated the following Disciplinary Rule:
DR 1-102. Misconduct.
(A) A lawyer shall not:
(4) Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation which reflects adversely on a lawyer's fitness to practice law.
In light of the facts and violations found, as well as the Agreed Disposition, it is hereby
ORDERED that the license of Donald Gregory Baker to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia is SUSPENDED for a period of two and one-half (2.5) years beginning on the date of the entry of this Order. It is further
ORDERED that pursuant to the provisions of Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13(M) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, as amended, that the Respondent shall forthwith give notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, of the suspension of his license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia, to all clients for whom he is currently handling matters and to all opposing attorneys and presiding judges in pending litigation. The Respondent shall also make appropriate arrangements for the disposition of matters then in his care in conformity with the wishes of his client. The Respondent shall give such notice within fourteen (14) days of the date of this order, and shall make such arrangements as are required herein within forty-five (45) days of the date of this order. Respondent shall also furnish proof to the Clerk of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary System within sixty (60) days of the date of this order that such notices have been timely given and such arrangements for the disposition of matters have been made. Issues concerning the adequacy of the notice and arrangements required shall be determined by the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board, which may impose a sanction of revocation or further suspension for failure to comply with the requirements of this paragraph.
Pursuant to Part Six, § IV, ¶ 13(B)(8)(c) of the Rules of the Supreme Court, as amended, the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall assess costs. It is further
ORDERED that four (4) copies of this Order be certified by the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Scott County, Virginia, and be thereafter mailed by said Clerk to the Clerk of the Disciplinary System of the Virginia State Bar at 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, Virginia 23219-2800, for further service upon the Respondent and Bar Counsel consistent with the rules and procedures governing the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary System.
ENTERED this day of , 2003.
FOR THE COURT:
HERMAN A. WHISENANT, JR.
Chief Judge Designate of the Three-Judge Court
KENNETH M. COVINGTON
A. DOW OWENS
We ask for this:
Richard E. Slaney
Assistant Bar Counsel
Russell V. Palmore, Jr., Esq.
Counsel for Respondent
Stephen D. Otero, Esq.
Counsel for Respondent