VIRGINIA:



BEFORE THE SECOND DISTRICT COMMITTEE-SECTION I

OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR





IN THE MATTER OF VSB Docket No. 99-021-1381

PATRICIA MARIA WRIGHT





DISTRICT COMMITTEE DETERMINATION

(PUBLIC REPRIMAND)



On March 15, 2002, a hearing in this matter was convened at 9:30 A.M. before a duly convened panel from the Second District Committee-Section I, consisting of Afshin Farashahi, Esquire, LaRhonda Jean Carter, Attorney at Law, Ray Webb King, Esquire, Mr. Kurt M. Rosenbach, lay member, Croxton Gordon, Esquire, Mr. Robert W. Carter, lay member, Paul Kevin Campsen, Esquire, Robert William McFarland, Esquire, and William Hanes Monroe, Jr., Esquire, Chair presiding. The bar appeared by its Assistant Bar Counsel Paul D. Georgiadis. The Respondent, Patricia Maria Wright, appeared pro se.



On March 15, 2002 at 9:00 A.M., the Committee heard the bar's Show Cause Motion wherein the Respondent was directed to show cause why this misconduct case should not be set for hearing in the absence of proof that Respondent fulfilled the terms set forth by order of Dismissal with Terms of a subcommittee of the Second District Committee-Section I dated October 19, 1999. The Respondent, having received due notice of the hearing and having actual notice of the hearing, did not appear. Finding that the Respondent did not comply with the terms of attending four (4) hours of CLE in appellate practice within six (6) months from the date of the order, the Committee directed the matter to be heard at the previously noticed day and time of March 15, 2002 at 9:30 A.M.



Pursuant to Virginia Supreme Court Rules of Court Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13(B)(7) and Council Rule of Disciplinary Procedure V, the Second District Committee, Section I, of the Virginia State Bar hereby serves upon the Respondent, Patricia Maria Wright, the following Public Reprimand.

I. FINDINGS OF FACT

1. At all times material to these allegations, the Respondent, Patricia Maria Wright, hereinafter "Respondent", has been an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.



2.Following the criminal trial of juvenile Laquentie Smith in Virginia Beach Circuit Court on December 19, 1997, the Court entered an Order substituting Respondent as counsel of record. Respondent was retained through Smith's mother, Shirley H. Charlton.

3. Following Smith's sentencing on July 15, 1998, Respondent noted an appeal on or about August 14, 1998. However, she failed to file a filing fee at that time or thereafter in accordance with Rule 5A:6(C) of the Rules of Court.



4. Neither Charlton nor Smith authorized Respondent to abandon the appeal and at no time did Respondent move for or obtain leave of court to withdraw from the representation.



5. On November 18, 1998, the Virginia Court of Appeals entered an order of dismissal of this matter for failure to timely file the filing fee.

6. Throughout the representation, Respondent failed to return Charlton's telephone calls inquiring about the status of the appeal.



7. At no time did Respondent advise either Charlton or Smith of the dismissal of the appeal. Charlton learned of the November 18, 1998 order dismissing the appeal only through the VSB Investigator, who advised her on February 2, 1999. Smith thereafter learned of the dismissal of his appeal from Charlton.II. NATURE OF MISCONDUCT



Such conduct on the part of Respondent constitutes misconduct in violation of the following Disciplinary Rules of the Virginia Code of Professional Responsibility:



DR 6-101. Competence and Promptness.

(B) A lawyer shall attend promptly to matters undertaken for a client until completed or until the lawyer has properly and completely withdrawn from representing the client.

(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.



III. IMPOSITION OF PUBLIC REPRIMAND

Accordingly, it is the decision of the Committee to impose a Public Reprimand on Respondent, Patricia Maria Wright, and she is so reprimanded.



Pursuant to Virginia Supreme Court Rules of Court Part 6, Section IV, 13(K)(10), the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall assess costs.



Second District Committee--Section I

Of the Virginia State Bar



By

William Hanes Monroe, Jr

Chair Presiding











CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE



I certify I have this the _____ day of _____________, 2002, mailed by CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, a true and complete copy of the District Committee Determination (Public Reprimand) to Patricia Maria Wright, Patricia Maria Wright, Attorney at Law, 106 Truxton Avenue, Portsmouth, VA 23701, her last address of record with the Virginia State Bar.



__________________________________

Paul D. Georgiadis

Assistant Bar Counsel