IN THE MATTER OF WALTER FRANKLIN GREEN, IV, ESQUIRE
VSB Docket No. 97-070-0897
On February 20, 2002, a hearing in this matter was held before the duly convened Seventh District Committee, consisting of Ann K. Crenshaw, Esq., Frederick Warren Payne, Esq., Douglas K. Baumgardner, Esq., Steven H. Gordon, Ann C. Hall, and John G. Berry, Esq., presiding.
The Respondent, Walter Franklin Green, IV, Esquire, appeared in person with his counsel, Bruce P. Ganey, Esquire. Claude V. Worrell, II, Esq., Assistant Bar Counsel, appeared as counsel for the Virginia State Bar.
Pursuant to Part 6, ▀IV, Ć 13(B)(7) of the rules of the Supreme Court, the Seventh District Committee of the Virginia State Bar hereby serves upon the Respondent the following Public Reprimand with Terms:
I. FINDINGS OF FACT
1. At all times relevant hereto the Respondent, Walter Franklin Green, IV, Esq. (hereinafter the Respondent), has been an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
2. In the summer of 1995, Michael Scott Summers (hereinafter the Complainant) retained the Respondent to represent him on criminal charges in Rockingham County Circuit Court. The matter went to trial on August 31, 1995, and the Complainant was convicted. On December 7, 1995, the Complainant was sentenced to a period of incarceration. The Complainant wanted to appeal the conviction and the Respondent was appointed to represent him on appeal. The Respondent noted the appeal that same day.
3. On December 11, 1995, the Respondent filed a Notice of Appeal with the Virginia Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals received the record on April 15, 1996. The Respondent filed a Brief in Support of Petition for Appeal on May 28, 1996. The Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney for the County of Rockingham filed a Brief in Opposition on June 17, 1996.
4. On June 17, 1996, the Respondent wrote the Complainant, advising him that he, the Respondent, had filed the Complainant's appeal with the Court of Appeals and would no longer represent him. The Respondent did not petition any Court for leave to withdraw from the Complainant's case and did not inform the Complainant about his possible remedies beyond the Virginia Court of Appeals.
5. On August 30, 1996, the Court of Appeals denied the Complainant's appeal.
6. The Respondent took no other action on behalf of the Complainant.
The Committee finds that the following Disciplinary Rules have been violated:
DR 2-108. Terminating Representation.
(C) In any court proceeding, counsel
of record shall not withdraw except by leave of court after notice to the client
of the time and place of a motion for leave to withdraw. In any other matter,
a lawyer shall continue representation, notwithstanding good cause for terminating
the representation, when ordered to do so by a tribunal.
(D) Upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take reasonable steps for the continued protection of a client's interests, including giving reasonable notice to the client, allowing time for employment of other counsel, delivering all papers and property to which the client is entitled, and refunding any advance payment of fee that has not been earned. The lawyer may retain papers relating to the client to the extent permitted by applicable law.
III. PUBLIC REPRIMAND WITH TERMS
Accordingly, it is the decision of the Committee to impose a Public Reprimand with Terms, compliance with which by April 15, 2003 shall be a predicate for the disposition of this complaint by imposition of a Public Reprimand with Terms. The terms and conditions which shall be met by April 15, 2003 are:
1. You shall, on or before March 30, 2002, engage the services of law office management consultant Janean S. Johnston, 250 South Reynolds Street, #710, Alexandria, Virginia 22304-4421, (703) 567-0088, to review and make recommendations concerning your law practice policies, methods, systems, and procedures. You shall institute and thereafter follow with consistency any and all recommendations made to you by Ms. Johnston following her evaluation of your practice. You shall grant Ms. Johnston access to your law practice from time to time, at her request, for purposes of ensuring that you have instituted and are complying with her recommendations. The Virginia State Bar shall have access (by way of telephone conferences and/or written reports) to Ms. Johnston's findings and recommendations, as well as her assessment of your level of compliance with her recommendations. You shall be obligated to pay when due Ms. Johnston's fees and costs for her services (including provision to the Bar of information concerning this matter) in a maximum aggregate amount of $1,600.00. You will have discharged your obligations respecting the terms contained in this Paragraph 2 if you have fulfilled and remained in compliance with all of the terms contained in herein through April 15, 2003.
Upon satisfactory proof that the above noted terms and conditions have been met, a Public Reprimand with Terms shall then be imposed, and this matter shall be closed. If, however, the terms and conditions have not been met by April 15, 2003, this matter will be sent to the Virginia State Bar's Disciplinary Board.
Pursuant to Part Six, ▀ IV, Ć 13(K)(10) of the Rules of the Supreme Court, the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall assess costs.
I certify that I have this _____ day of ________________________, 2002, mailed a true and correct copy of the Committee Determination of Public Reprimand with Terms by CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, to the Respondent, Walter Franklin Green, IV, Esq. at 77 North Liberty Street, P.O. Box 512, Harrisonburg, VA 22801-0512, his last address of record with the Virginia State Bar, and by first class mail, postage prepaid, to the Respondent's Counsel, Bruce P. Ganey, Esquire, at 10985 Richardson Road, Hanover Industrial Air Park, Ashland, VA 23005-6006, and to Claude V. Worrell, II, Esq., Assistant Bar Counsel, at Suite 310, 100 North Pitt Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314.