BEFORE THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR DISCIPLINARY BOARD
IN THE MATTER OF
JEAN VENESS VSB Docket No: 02-000-1795
ORDER AND OPINION
This matter came before the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board for hearing on February 22, 2002, upon a Show Cause Order and Order of Suspension and Hearing entered on January 25, 2002. A duly convened panel of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board consisting of Bruce T. Clark, Peter A. Dingman, Joseph R. Lassiter, Jr., Chester J. Cahoon, Jr., Lay Member, and William M. Moffet, presiding, heard the matter. Claude V. Worrell, II, ("Assistant Bar Counsel") appeared as Counsel to the Virginia State Bar ("VSB"). Jean Veness ("Respondent") did not appear.
The court reporter for the proceeding, Leslie Etheredge, 4444 Arrowhead Road, Richmond, Virginia, 23225, telephone (804) 272-7054, was duly sworn by Mr. Moffet.
All legal notices of the date and place were timely sent by the Clerk of the Disciplinary System, in the manner prescribed by law. Part Six, ßIV, 13.G of the Rules of the Supreme Court, Disbarment or Suspension in Another Jurisdiction, provides in relevant part that, following the issuance of a show cause order and order of suspension, "the Board shall forthwith serve upon Respondent by certified mail (a) a copy of such certificate [establishing the suspension or disbarment of Respondent in a foreign jurisdiction], (b) a copy of such order, and (c) a notice fixing the time and place of a hearing to determine what action should be taken by the Board." The Board finds that the Bar has complied with these requirements by forwarding a certified letter containing the required documentation to Respondent dated January 25, 2002.
The case was called three times: Respondent neither answered the docket call nor appeared to defend her interests. Respondent did file a response to the Show Cause Order and Order of Suspension and Hearing, as required by 13.G, which was admitted as Exhibit 4. The Chair opened the hearing by polling the Board members to ascertain whether any member had a conflict of interest which would preclude him or her from serving. There were no conflicts and the hearing proceeded as scheduled.
The Virginia State Bar exhibits were admitted into evidence as Exhibits 1, 2, and 3, without objection. Respondent's answer and transmittal letter were introduced as Exhibit 4. The evidence adduced at the hearing was that Respondent had been suspended for a period of one year from the practice of law by the Supreme Court of New York by order issued November 13, 2001. Respondent had been charged with three (3) violations of professional misconduct, to-wit: failing to register with the Office of Court Administration ("OCA"), failing to notify the OCA of numerous changes of address, and failing to cooperate with the investigation. She was found guilty of all charges and suspended for one year. See, Supreme Court of the State of New York Order 2000-06154. (Exhibit 1).
The Respondent has failed to establish a defense as provided in Part 6, ßIV, 13.G of the Rules of the Supreme Court. Accordingly, the Board must impose the same discipline imposed by the State of New York, to-wit: suspension of Respondent's license to practice law for one year.
Upon consideration of the matters before this panel of the Disciplinary Board, it is hereby ORDERED that, pursuant to Part 6, ßIV, 13.G of the Rules of the Supreme Court, the license of Respondent, Jean Veness, to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia shall be, and is hereby, SUSPENDED for a period of one year, effective January 25, 2002.
It is FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to the provisions of Part 6, ßIV, 13.K(1) of the Rules of the Supreme Court, as applicable, Respondent shall forthwith give notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, of the suspension of her license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia to any and all clients for whom she is currently handling matters and to all opposing counsel and presiding judges in any pending litigation in which she is involved. Respondent shall make appropriate arrangements, as applicable, for the disposition of matters then in her care conforming to the wishes of her clients.
It is FURTHER ORDERED that Respondent shall give such notice within fourteen (14) days of the effective date of this order, and shall make such arrangements as are required herein within forty-five (45) days of the effective date of this order, and shall furnish proof to the bar within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this order that such notices have been timely given and such arrangements for the disposition of matters made. All issues concerning the adequacy of the notice and arrangements required herein shall be determined by the Board.
It is FURTHER ORDERED that Respondent, Jean Veness, shall, as appropriate, furnish true copies of all letters noticing the suspension of her license to practice law, with the original return receipts for said notice letters, to the Clerk of the Disciplinary System, within (60) days of the effective date of this order.
It is FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall send an attested and true copy of this order and opinion to Respondent, Jean Veness, by certified mail, return receipt requested, at her address of record with the Virginia State Bar, 329 River Forest Road, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 23454; and to Claude V. Worrell, II, Assistant Bar Counsel, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, Virginia, 23219-2803.
The Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall assess costs pursuant to Part 6, ßIV, 13.K(10) of the Rules of the Supreme Court.
SO ORDERED, this ____ day of March, 2002.
By: William M. Moffett, Chairman