VIRGINIA:


BEFORE THE THIRD DISTRICT, SECTION III

SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR


IN THE MATTER OF VSB DOCKET NO. 02-033-0698

JAY LAWRENCE PICKUS



SUBCOMMITTEE DETERMINATION

(PUBLIC REPRIMAND)

On November 7, 2002, a meeting in this matter was held before a duly convened Third District, Section III Subcommittee consisting of Edwin A. Bischoff, Esquire, Andrew J. Gibb, Lay Member and Daniel A. Carrell, Esquire, presiding. The Virginia State Bar was represented by Barbara Ann Williams, Bar Counsel.

Pursuant to Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13.G.4. of the Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court, the Third District Subcommittee of the Virginia State Bar hereby serves upon the Respondent the following public reprimand:

I. FINDINGS OF FACT

1. The Respondent, Jay Lawrence Pickus, was admitted to the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Virginia on September 23, 1977.

2. At all times relevant to these proceedings, Mr. Pickus was an attorney in good standing to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

3. On December 7, 2000, Tammy Estell Snider was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual battery on a child less than 13 years of age.

4. On or about December 11, 2000, Mr. Pickus made a request for a bond hearing and appeared on Ms. Snider's behalf at a bond hearing in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court of the City of Richmond on December 13, 2000, at which time Ms. Snider's bond was reduced.

5. A preliminary hearing was set for January 10, 2001, at 2:15 p.m. before Judge Audrey J. Franks.

6. The preliminary hearing was continued on a joint motion by the Commonwealth and the defense until March 21, 2001, at 2:15 p.m.

7. On January 19, 2001, the Commonwealth moved to have the preliminary hearing conducted on closed circuit television.

8. The defense opposed the motion, and the motion was set for hearing on March 20, 2001, at 12:30 p.m. in Judge Franks' courtroom.

9. On February 6, 2001, Mr. Pickus served a Motion for Discovery on Ms. Snider's behalf.

10. On March 20, 2001, the hearing on the closed circuit television motion was continued until 2:00 p.m. on April 10, 2001.

11. Sometime after March 20, 2001, Ms. Snider advised Mr. Pickus that she could not afford to pay him and that she would need to seek court appointed counsel.

12. Mr. Pickus maintains that Ms. Snider subsequently assured him that she had appeared in court and that the Public Defender's Office had been appointed to represent her.

13. Mr. Pickus failed to notify the Court in writing, either by letter or order substituting counsel, that new counsel would be appearing on Ms. Snider's behalf.

14. In fact, new counsel had not been appointed to represent Ms. Snider.

15. On April 10, 2001, the Commonwealth and Ms. Snider appeared for the hearing, but Mr. Pickus did not.

16. On April 12, 2001, the court issued a criminal Show Cause Summons summoning

Mr. Pickus to appear before the court on August 29, 2001, and show cause why he should not be held in contempt of court for his failure to appear on April 10, 2001.

17. Mr. Pickus was personally served with the show cause order on April 19, 2001, but did not appear for the show cause hearing on August 29, 2001.

18. Mr. Pickus was tried in absentia, convicted and fined $50.

19. Mr. Pickus paid the fine and, in a letter to Judge Franks dated September 11, 2001, stated that he did not appear for the hearing on April 10, 2001, because his client told him she could not pay him and would seek court appointed counsel.



II. NATURE OF MISCONDUCT


The Respondent, his counsel and Bar Counsel agree that the findings of fact give rise to a finding that the following Rule of Professional Conduct was violated:

RULE 1.16 Declining Or Terminating Representation

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III. PUBLIC REPRIMAND


Accordingly, it is the decision of the subcommittee to impose a Public Reprimand and the Respondent is hereby so reprimanded.

THIRD DISTRICT, SECTION III

SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR





_____________________________________

Daniel A. Carrell, Subcommittee Chair

 



Certificate of Service


I certify that I have this ____ day of _________ 2002, mailed by CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, a true, correct and executed copy of the Subcommittee Determination (Public Reprimand) to Jay Lawrence Pickus, Esquire, Suite 200, 422 East Franklin Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219, his last address of record with the Virginia State Bar, and by regular mail to his counsel, Joseph W. Kaestner, Esquire, Kaestner & Associates, P.C., P.O. Box 2462, Richmond, Virginia 23218-2462.



_____________________________

Barbara Ann Williams,

Bar Counsel



 

 



VIRGINIA:



BEFORE THE THIRD DISTRICT, SECTION III

SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR



IN THE MATTER OF VSB DOCKET NO. 02-033-3001

JAY LAWRENCE PICKUS



SUBCOMMITTEE DETERMINATION

(PUBLIC REPRIMAND WITH TERMS)


On November 7, 2002, a meeting in this matter was held before a duly convened Third District, Section III Subcommittee consisting of Edwin A. Bischoff, Esquire, Andrew J. Gibb, Lay Member and Daniel A. Carrell, Esquire, presiding. The Virginia State Bar was represented by Barbara Ann Williams, Bar Counsel.

Pursuant to Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13.G.4. of the Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court, the Third District Subcommittee of the Virginia State Bar hereby serves upon the Respondent the following Public Reprimand with Terms:

I. FINDINGS OF FACT


1. The Respondent, Jay Lawrence Pickus, was admitted to the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Virginia on September 23, 1977.

2. At all times relevant to these proceedings, Mr. Pickus was an attorney in good standing to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

3. In April 2000, Maynard O. Banton retained Mr. Pickus to represent him on criminal charges pending in Chesterfield County.

4. Mr. Pickus quoted Mr. Banton a fee of $2,000 for the Chesterfield matter, which Mr. Banton paid in May 2000.

5. Instead of depositing the funds in his trust account, Mr. Pickus deposited them in his operating account.

6. The Chesterfield matter was concluded in April 2001.

7. In May 2000, Mr. Banton also retained Mr. Pickus to represent him on criminal charges pending in Henrico County.

8. Mr. Pickus quoted Mr. Banton a flat fee of $1,500 for the Henrico matter.

9. In November 2000, Mr. Banton entered a guilty plea in the Henrico matter pursuant to a plea agreement that Mr. Pickus negotiated.

10. In December 2000, Mr. Banton paid Mr. Pickus $1,500 and, before the final disposition of the Henrico matter, paid Mr. Pickus another $350.

11. Instead of depositing the funds in his trust account, Mr. Pickus deposited them in his operating account.

12. The Henrico matter was not finally disposed of until April 2001.

13. Mr. Pickus's records do not reflect any basis for disbursement of the sums that Mr. Banton paid him.



II. NATURE OF MISCONDUCT


The Respondent, his counsel and Bar Counsel agree that the findings of fact give rise to a finding that the following Rule of Professional Conduct was violated:

RULE 1.15 Safekeeping Property

(a) All funds received or held by a lawyer or law firm on behalf of a client, other than reimbursement of advances for costs and expenses, shall be deposited in one or more identifiable escrow accounts maintained at a financial institution in the state in which the law office is situated and no funds belonging to the lawyer or law firm shall be deposited therein . . . .


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(e)  Record-Keeping Requirements, Required Books and Records.  As a minimum requirement every lawyer engaged in the private practice of law in Virginia, hereinafter called "lawyer," shall maintain or cause to be maintained, on a current basis, books and records which establish compliance with Rule 1.15(a) and (c). Whether a lawyer or law firm maintains computerized records or a manual accounting system, such system must produce the records and information required by this Rule.

(ii) a cash disbursements journal listing and identifying all disbursements from the escrow 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 escrow and non-escrow disbursements then the consolidated disbursements journal shall contain separate columns for escrow and non-escrow disbursements;

(iii) 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 escrow shall be maintained. The ledger account shall by separate columns or otherwise clearly identify escrow funds disbursed, and escrow 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;

(iv) reconciliations and supporting records required under this Rule;

(v) the records required under this paragraph shall be preserved for at least five full calendar years following the termination of the fiduciary relationship.


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PUBLIC REPRIMAND WITH TERMS



Accordingly, it is the decision of the subcommittee to offer the Respondent an opportunity to comply with certain terms and conditions, compliance with which will be a predicate for the disposition of a Public Reprimand with Terms of this complaint. The terms and conditions shall be met by January 31, 2003. No later than that date, the Respondent will certify in writing to Bar Counsel that he has met and conferred with a law office management expert, who will review with the Respondent the requirements of Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15, proper trust account procedures and the Respondent's trust account records. The Respondent and Bar Counsel shall agree in advance upon the expert consultant. The Respondent shall bear the expense of the consultation.

Upon satisfactory proof that the foregoing terms and conditions have been met, this matter shall be closed. The Respondent's failure to comply with any one or more of the foregoing terms and conditions will result in the imposition of the alternate sanction of a three month Suspension. 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 and conditions. Instead, 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 any one or more of the terms of this order without legal justification or

excuse.

Pursuant to Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13.b.8.c.(1) of the Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court, the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall assess costs.

THIRD DISTRICT, SECTION III

SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR




_____________________________________

Daniel A. Carrell, Subcommittee Chair

 



Certificate of Service


I certify that I have this ____ day of _________ 2002, mailed by CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, a true, correct and executed copy of the Subcommittee Determination (Public Reprimand with Terms) to Jay Lawrence Pickus, Esquire, Suite 200, 422 East Franklin Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219, his last address of record with the Virginia State Bar, and by regular mail to his counsel, Joseph W. Kaestner, Esquire, Kaestner & Associates, P.C., P.O. Box 2462, Richmond, Virginia 23218-2462.



_____________________________

Barbara Ann Williams,

Bar Counsel