VIRGINIA STATE BAR DISCIPLINARY
IN THE MATTER OF
PAUL BYRON COLLINS, JR.
VSB DOCKET #02-070-1433
This matter came on to be heard on December 9, 2002, on the Agreed Disposition of the Virginia State Bar and the Respondent based on the Certification of the Seventh District Subcommittee. The Agreed Disposition was considered by a duly convened panel of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board consisting of V. Max Beard, Bruce T. Clark, Joseph R. Lassiter, Jr., Gordon P. Peyton, Jr. and John Dezio, presiding.
Claude V. Worrell, II, representing the Bar and the Respondent, Paul Byron Collins, Jr., appearing pro se, presented an endorsed Agreed Disposition, dated December 9, 2002, reflecting the terms of the Agreed Disposition. The court reporter reporting the matter was Donna T. Chandler, Chandler & Halasz.
Having considered the Certification and the Agreed Disposition, it is the decision of the Board that the Agreed Disposition be accepted, and the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board finds by clear and convincing evidence as follows:
1. At all time relevant hereto, the Respondent, Paul Byron Collins, Jr., has been an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
2. On or about October 9, 2001, the Respondent's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia was suspended by the Virginia State Bar for his failure to pay Bar dues and fulfill his Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirement for the previous year. On November 2, 2001, the Respondent filed a motion in the General District Court of Loudoun County in Commonwealth v. Slaughter, T01-15719. The Complainant, the Honorable Julia T. Cannon, Judge, presided in the case, and had been informed by the Bar in mid-October that the Respondent was suspended. She called the Virginia State Bar to find out if the Respondent had since been reinstated, and was told by the Bar that he had not been. On November 5, 2001, the Respondent appeared before Judge Cannon to argue his motion. In chambers, Judge Cannon informed the Respondent that she knew his license had been suspended and she would therefor not consider his motion. The Respondent told her that he completed the Bar's requirements for his license to be reinstated and that he was in good standing. She informed him that she had spoken with the Bar at about 3:45 p.m. the day before and had been informed that his license had not been reinstated.
3. Judge Cannon instructed the Respondent to inform his client that the client's motion was not considered because the Respondent's license was suspended, which the Respondent did.
4. On December 5, 2001, the Respondent's wife had an Emergency or Preliminary Protective Order issued against the Respondent. The Respondent was served with the Protective Order. The Respondent violated the Protective Order on December 7, 2001, when he returned to the marital home to talk to his wife. The Respondent was arrested for violating the Court's order. At the hearing on February 20, 2002, the Respondent was fined fifty dollars and sentenced to serve thirty days in jail with all of that sentence suspended except for time already served. The Judge further ordered that the sentence be suspended based upon the Respondent's future good behavior, meaning that the Respondent have no unsupervised contact with his wife and no violent contact with his wife. On February 19, 2003, the matter will be review and closed as long as the Respondent has complied with the terms of his good behavior. The Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Judge did not enter a Permanent Protective Order.
The Board finds by clear and convincing evidence that such conduct on the part of Paul Byron Collins, Jr., constitutes a violation of the following Rules of Professional Conduct:
RULE 8.4 Misconduct
It is professional misconduct for
a lawyer to:
(a) violate or attempt to violate
the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do
so, or do so through the acts of another;
(b) commit a criminal or deliberately
wrongful act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness
or fitness as a lawyer;
(c) engage in professional conduct
involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;
(d) state or imply an ability to
influence improperly or upon irrelevant grounds any tribunal, legislative body,
or public official; or
(e) knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct or other law.
Upon consideration whereof, it is ORDERED that Paul Byron Collins, Jr., shall receive effective this date a six month suspension of his license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia .
It is further ORDERED that, pursuant to the provisions of Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Pt. 6, ▀IV, Para. 13, (M), the Respondent shall with in fourteen days (14) give Notice forthwith 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; to all opposing attorneys; and to all presiding judges in pending litigation; and the Respondent shall within forty five days (45) make immediate appropriate arrangements for the disposition of all matters presently in the Respondent's care in conformity with the wishes of each of the Respondent's clients.
It is further ORDERED that the Respondent shall furnish true copies of all of the Notice letters sent to the above listed persons, with all of the original Certified Mail Return Receipts for said Notice letters, to the Clerk of the Disciplinary System, at the address of the Virginia State Bar, within sixty (60) days from the effective date of the suspension.
It is further Ordered that, pursuant to The Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Pt. 6, ▀ IV, Para. 13, (B)(8)(c), the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall assess costs against the Respondent.
It is further ORDERED that a copy teste of this Order shall be mailed by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, to the Respondent, at his last address of record with the Virginia State Bar, hand-delivered to Bar Counsel and sent to Susan D. Pauley, 701 East Franklin Street, Suite 1120, Richmond, VA 23219