VIRGINIA STATE BAR ex rel
THIRD DISTRICT SUBCOMMITTEE,
Case No. CL02-351
CHARLES ROBERT GRAY
Having been certified for hearing by the Third District Committee, Section I, and the respondent, Charles Robert Gray, having requested a hearing before a three-judge panel pursuant to Va. Code ß 54.1-3935, this matter came on for hearing on June 13 and 14, 2002, before a three judge panel consisting of the Honorable James C. Godwin, J. Peyton Farmer and James A. Luke, Chief Judge.
The Respondent appeared in person and was represented by his attorney, Michael L. Rigsby. Assistant Bar Counsel Charlotte P. Hodges represented the Virginia State Bar.
After the Virginia State Bar presented its evidence, the bar withdrew charges that the Respondent had violated DRs 1-102(A)(1) and (3); 2-108(A)(1); 3-104(A)(1) and (3); 3 104(D); 6-101(A)(1) and (2); 6-101(B); 7-102(A)(1), (2) and (3); and RPC 8.1. The Respondent's counsel moved to strike the remainder of the bar's case.
Having considered the pleadings, evidence presented by the bar and arguments of counsel on Respondent's motion to strike, the Court found that the bar had failed to present prima facie evidence that the respondent had violated DRs 1-102(4); 2-105(A); and 9-102(A) and (B), but found that the bar had proved by clear and convincing evidence that the Respondent had violated DRs 6-101(C) and (D); and 9-103(A)(2) and (3), which state as follows:
DR 6-101. Competence and Promptness.
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(C) A lawyer shall keep a client
reasonably informed about matters in which the lawyer's services are being rendered.
(D) A lawyer shall inform his client of facts pertinent to the matter and of communications from another party that may significantly affect settlement or resolution of the matter.
DR 9-103. Record Keeping Requirements.
(A) Required Books and Records: As a minimum requirement, every attorney engaged in the private practice of law in Virginia, hereinafter called "attorney," shall maintain or cause to be maintained, on a current basis, books and records which establish his compliance with Disciplinary Rule 9-102. These records including all the reconciliations and supporting records required under Section (B) hereof shall be preserved for at least five years following completion of the fiduciary obligation and accounting period. For this purpose, the following books and records, or their equivalent, are required.
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(2) A cash disbursements journal
listing and identifying all disbursements from the fiduciary account. Checkbook
entries of disbursements, if adequately detailed and bound, may constitute a
journal for this purpose. If separate disbursements journals are not maintained
for fiduciary and nonfiduciary disbursements then the consolidated disbursements
journal shall contain separate columns for fiduciary and nonfiduciary disbursements.
(3) Subsidiary ledger: A subsidiary ledger containing a separate account for each client and for every other person or entity from whom money has been received in trust shall be maintained. The ledger account shall by separate columns or otherwise clearly identify fiduciary funds disbursed, and fiduciary funds balance on hand. The ledger account for a client or a separate subsidiary ledger account for a client shall clearly indicate all fees paid from trust accounts.
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The Virginia State Bar objected to the Court's finding that the bar had failed to present prima facie evidence that the Respondent violated DR 1-102(A)(4).
Upon consideration of the misconduct that the Court found the bar had proved by clear and convincing evidence, the Court ruled that a dismissal with terms shall be imposed upon the Respondent for violating DRs 6-101(C) and (D); and 9-103(A)(2) and (3).
According, it is ORDERED that a Dismissal with the following Terms shall be imposed upon the Respondent:
1. The Respondent shall return the files requested by Clifford Amos;
2. For five years from entry of this Order, the Respondent shall not reenter the private practice of law as a sole practitioner;
3. For five years from entry of
this Order, the Respondent shall submit an affidavit to Bar Counsel affirming
that he is not engaged in the private practice of law as a sole practitioner;
4. For five years from entry of this Order, the Respondent shall obey all the rules of the Virginia State Bar.
If the Respondent fails to comply with any of the foregoing terms, bar counsel will initiate a show cause proceeding requiring the Respondent to show cause why his license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia should not be suspended for six months. The imposition of the alternative sanction shall not require any hearing on the underlying charges of misconduct, if the Virginia State Bar discovers that the
Respondent has failed to comply with any of the agreed terms. In that event, the Virginia State Bar shall issue and serve upon the Respondent a Notice of Hearing to Show Cause why the alternative sanction should not be imposed. The sole factual issue will be whether the Respondent has violated one or more of the terms of the Dismissal with Terms without legal justification or excuse. The imposition of the alternative sanction shall be in addition to any other sanction imposed for misconduct during the probationary period.
Pursuant to the Part Six, §IV, ¶13.K.(10) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall assess costs.
The court reporter for the hearing was Tracy Stroh, Chandler and Halasz, Inc., Post Office Box 9349, Richmond, Virginia 23227.
It is ORDERED that the Clerk of the Circuit Court shall send an attested copy of this Order by first class mail to counsel of record and to the Clerk of the Disciplinary System, Virginia State Bar, Suite 1500, 707 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219, and place this matter among the Court's ended cases.
It is further ORDERED that the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall mail a copy of this Order by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the respondent at his last address of record with the Virginia State Bar, P.O. Drawer B, Chester Virginia 2383.
Enter: / /
The Honorable James A. Luke
The Honorable James C. Godwin
The Honorable J. Peyton Farmer
Seen and Agreed to:
Virginia State Bar
Barbara Ann Williams, Bar Counsel
Charles Robert Gray
Michael L. Rigsby, Respondent's Counsel