BEFORE THE SECOND DISTRICT
- SECTION I SUBCOMMITTEE
OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR
IN THE MATTER OF
DWAYNE BERNARD STROTHERS
VSB DOCKET NO. 02-021-3261
On April 30, 2003, a meeting
in this matter was held before a duly convened Subcommittee of the Second District
Committee - Section I, consisting of Afshin Farashahi, Esquire, Mr. Kurt Rosenbach
(Lay Member), and Croxton Gordon, Esquire, Chair presiding.
Pursuant to an Agreed Disposition of the parties and Part 6, Section IV, ¶13G1c.(3)
of the Virginia Supreme Court Rules of Court, the Second District - Section I
Subcommittee of the Virginia State Bar hereby serves upon the Respondent, Dwayne
Bernard Strothers, the following Public Reprimand:
I. FINDINGS OF FACT
1. On or about April 3, 2002,
Respondent was appointed by the Suffolk Circuit Court as counsel for Kenard Tillery.
Following Tillery's conviction, Respondent was reappointed for the appeal of the
2. After advising Tillery on
or about July 6, 2000 of the filing of the Notice of Appeal, Respondent failed
thereafter to keep Tillery advised of the course of the appeal before the Court
of Appeals and before the Virginia Supreme Court.
3. Following the denial of the
appeal on March 14, 2001, Respondent filed a Petition for Rehearing, which the
Court of Appeals denied on May 30, 2001.
II. NATURE OF MISCONDUCT
- On June 25, 2001, Respondent filed
a Notice of Appeal with Suffolk Circuit Court. Thereafter, Respondent filed
no further pleadings to attempt to perfect the appeal.
- As of January 28, 2002, Tillery
did not know the status of his appeal. Accordingly, on January 28, 2002, Virginia
State Bar Intake Counsel Fletcher wrote to Respondent requesting that he communicate
with Tillery about the status of his appeal and respond to Tillery's request
for his file.
- Notwithstandiing several further
requests by the Virginia State Bar Intake Office, Respondent failed to communicate
with Tillery until he forwarded the requested case file on June 3, 2002.
The Subcommittee finds that
such conduct on the part of Respondent constitutes misconduct in violation of
the following Rules of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct :
RULE 1.1 Competence
A lawyer shall provide competent
representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge,
skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.
RULE 1.4 Communication
(a) A lawyer shall keep a client
reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable
requests for information.
RULE 1.16 Declining
Or Terminating Representation
(e) All original, client-furnished
documents and any originals of legal instruments or official documents which are
in the lawyer's possession (wills, corporate minutes, etc.) are the property of
the client and shall be returned to the client upon request, whether or not the
client has paid the fees and costs owed the lawyer. If the lawyer wants to keep
a copy of such original documents, the lawyer must incur the cost of duplication.
Upon request, the client must also be provided copies of the following documents
from the lawyer's file, whether or not the client has paid the fees and costs
owed the lawyer: lawyer/client and lawyer/third-party communications; the lawyer's
copies of client-furnished documents (unless the originals have been returned
to the client pursuant to this paragraph); pleadings and discovery responses;
working and final drafts of legal instruments, official documents, investigative
reports, legal memoranda, and other attorney work product documents prepared for
the client in the course of the representation; research materials; and bills
previously submitted to the client. Although the lawyer may bill and seek to collect
from the client the costs associated with making a copy of these materials, the
lawyer may not use the client's refusal to pay for such materials as a basis to
refuse the client's request. The lawyer, however, is not required under this Rule
to provide the client copies of billing records and documents intended only for
internal use, such as memoranda prepared by the lawyer discussing
conflicts of interest, staffing considerations, or difficulties arising from the
III. PUBLIC REPRIMAND
Accordingly, pursuant to the
Agreed Disposition entered into between Respondent and Assistant Bar Counsel,
it is the decision of the Subcommittee to impose a Public Reprimand on Respondent,
Dwayne Bernard Strothers, and he is so reprimanded.
The Clerk of the Disciplinary
System shall impose an administrative fee.
SECOND DISTRICT - SECTION I
SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE VIRGINIA
STATE BAR By:
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I certify that I have this
______day of , 2003, mailed by CERTIFIED MAIL - RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, a true
and correct copy of the executed Subcommittee Determination (Public Reprimand)
to the Respondent, Dwayne Bernard Strothers, at The Law Offices, P.O. Box 3540,
Suffolk, Virginia 23439-3540, his last address of record with the Virginia State
Paul D. Georgiadis
Assistant Bar Counsel