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Disciplinary Actions Taken by the
Virginia State Bar

January 2002–June 2002
archives

June 28, 2002

Patricia Maria Wright, 106 Truxton Avenue, Portsmouth, VA 23701

VSB Docket Nos. 99-021-2584, 01-021-2531, 01-021-0405, 99-021-2318

On June 27, 2002, attorney Patricia Maria Wright consented to a suspension of her license to practice law on an interim basis, pending a bar investigation of whether she suffers from a disability. The Disciplinary Board denied Ms. Wright's motion to continue the hearing of four misconduct cases but offered her the interim suspension until the disability issue is settled. If the Disciplinary Board determines Ms. Wright is not disabled, the board will hear the four misconduct cases.

go to opinion


June 28, 2002*

ALAN JAY CILMAN, ESQUIRE

507 Valley Drive, Vienna, VA 22180

VSB Docket No. 02-000-2325

On June 6, 2003, the Virginia Supreme Court reversed the order of the Board entered on June 28, 2002, and remanded the case with directions that further proceedings be conducted in accord with the provisions of Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13(I)(a)(1)(b) and Code Section 54.1-3915. 

go to Supreme Court Opinion (official Word file at http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinion/1022458.doc)

go to Supreme Court Opinion (text file at http://www.courts.state.va.us/txtops/1022458.txt)


On June 28, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Alan Jay Cilman's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia for a period of two years. The suspension was based on Mr. Cilman's failure to comply with the Rule of the Supreme Court of Virginia that requires an attorney whose license is suspended or revoked for misconduct to notify his or her clients, opposing attorneys, and presiding judges of the suspension or revocation, make appropriate arrangements for the disposition of the clients' matters, and provide proof to the Virginia State Bar that such notifications and arrangement have been made.

*On August 28, 2002, Mr. Cilman filed an appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court.

go to opinion

 

June 28, 2002

LAWRENCE RAYMOND MORTON, ESQ.

12720 Directors Loop, Woodbridge, VA 22192

VSB Docket No. 00-053-2891

On June 25, 2002, pursuant to an agreed disposition, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Lawrence Raymond Morton's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia for a period of sixty days, commencing on August 1, 2002.

The board found that Mr. Morton violated disciplinary rules relating to competence and promptness. As court-appointed criminal defense counsel, Mr. Morton failed to advise his client timely of the denial of his client's appeal to the Virginia Court of Appeals; failed to advise the client of the further right to appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court; and failed to make timely reply to the client's inquiries and to make timely provision of transcripts requested by the client. The board took into account Mr. Morton's record of prior disciplinary offenses.

go to opinion

 

June 27, 2002

Thomas E. Smolka, 990 Wales Road, Cambria, California 93428

VSB Docket Nos. 01-033-1945, 01-033-2106, 02-033-0295, 02-033-0829, 02-033-0962 and 02-033-1948


On June 27, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Mr. Smolka's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The board found that in four cases Mr. Smolka engaged in professional misconduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation by taking fees for client services that he failed to perform. Mr. Smolka represented that he had an office at Suite 122, 3126 West Cary Street in Richmond, Virginia, when in fact that office is a mail drop. Mr. Smolka also held himself out as being licensed to practice law in Florida and California, when he was not and, in fact, had entered into a consent order enjoining him from providing legal services in Florida and maintaining a law office there.

In two cases, the board found that Mr. Smolka misappropriated funds in his client trust account. In VSB Docket Nos. 02-033-0295 and 02-033-0962, which arose from overdrafts on Mr. Smolka's trust account, the board dismissed the misconduct charges for lack of clear and convincing evidence.

go to opinion

 

June 18, 2002

David Bafumo, 4118 Tall Pine Drive, Franklinton, NC 27525

VSB Docket #00-051-1567

On June 18, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended David Bafumo's license to practice law for two years. Mr. Bafumo, who represented the husband in a divorce action, let a notary public in his firm notarize the wife's signature on a waiver of notice and service of process form without witnessing the signature or having it authenticated by the wife. Mr. Bafumo then filed the waiver in the divorce action. After a final decree was entered, the wife denied signing the waiver and sought to invalidate the divorce. Mr. Bafumo wrote to the judge who presided over the divorce action and informed him that the notarized waiver had been mailed to his office and that the husband "had perpetrated a fraud upon the Court in connection with the case." At a subsequent hearing, Mr. Bafumo testified falsely about his knowledge of the defects in the notarization.

go to opinion

 

June 19, 2002

Learned Davis Barry, Esquire, 5312 Tuckahoe Avenue, Richmond Virginia 23226.

VSB Docket No. 02-033-3307

On June 19, 2002, the Third District Committee issued a public reprimand with terms to Learned D. Barry. The public reprimand followed a plea agreement entered in the General District Court of Henrico County. Mr. Barry pled guilty to a petit larceny charge arising from his taking a $12.95 book from a bookstore without paying for it. The terms associated with the public reprimand require Mr. Barry to comply with the terms of the plea agreement and an agreement with Lawyers Helping Lawyers. The alternate sanction, if Mr. Barry fails to comply with the terms, is a two-year suspension.

go to opinion

 

June 12, 2002

Dominick Anthony Pilli, Esquire, P.O. Box 873, Fairfax, VA 22030

VSB Docket # 01-051-1797

On June 12, 2002, the Fifth District Committee, Section I, issued a public reprimand with terms to Dominick A. Pilli. In May of 2000, a prospective client hired Mr. Pilli to finalize a divorce which was already pending in court. The client paid an advance fee. Mr. Pilli drafted a property settlement agreement but failed to respond to opposing counsel's request for changes to the agreement and to the client's request for information concerning the status of the case. Upon learning that Mr. Pilli had failed to respond to opposing counsel, the client fired Mr. Pilli and demanded the return of the advance fee and their file. Mr. Pilli did not respond.

go to opinion

 

JUNE 5, 2002

PATRICIA MARIA WRIGHT, 106 TRUXTON AVENUE, PORTSMOUTH, VA 23701

VSB DOCKET NOS. 99-021-1381 & 99-021-0223

On March 15, 2002, the Second District Committee-Section I, issued two public reprimands to Patricia Maria Wright for neglecting legal matters and failing to communicate with her clients. Ms. Wright appealed the reprimands to the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board, which affirmed the sanctions on May 30, 2002.

In the first case, the district committee found that Ms. Wright was retained to appeal a criminal conviction. Although she noted the appeal, she failed to pay a filing fee causing the appeal to be dismissed. The district committee rejected Ms. Wright's argument that the client authorized the appeal to be abandoned, finding instead that Ms. Wright neglected the matter. It further found that despite the numerous inquiries of the client's mother who was his authorized representative, Ms. Wright failed to advise her client of the status of the appeal. The client learned that the appeal was dismissed after filing a complaint with the Virginia State Bar.

In the second case, the Second District Committee-Section I, issued a public reprimand to Patricia Maria Wright for neglecting a legal matter and failing to communicate with her client. The district committee found that after Ms. Wright requested and was paid an initial fee to draft a petition to terminate a guardianship, she failed to perform any work on the matter and failed to respond to her client's repeated inquiries.

go to opinion 99-021-1381

go to opinion 99-021-0223

 

June 5, 2002

Harrison Benjamin Wilson, III, 422 East Franklin Street, Suite 103, Richmond, VA 23219

VSB Docket Nos.: 00-032-1980, 01-032-1072, 01-032-0885, 01-032-1755, 01-032-1798, 01-032-1891 Dismissed: 01-032-0643, 01-032-1238

On May 31, 2002, a three judge panel of the Circuit Court of Henrico suspended Harrison Benjamin Wilson, III's license to practice law for two years. In six of the eight cases brought by the bar, the court found that Wilson had engaged in incompetence, neglect, failure to communicate with his clients and failure to follow required trust accounting procedures. The court dismissed the other two cases.

go to opinion

 

June 3, 2002

William August Boge, Suite 103, 9315 Center Street, Manassas, VA 20110

VSB Docket No. 00-053-3052

On May 28, 2002, the Fifth District-Section III Committee of the Virginia State Bar issued a public reprimand to William August Boge after determining that he had not complied with the terms offered as a condition of a previous private reprimand. The ethical misconduct which resulted in discipline involved Mr. Boge's failure to provide a client with a copy of a motion to reconsider a criminal sentence; failure to inform the client of the outcome of the motion; failure to make timely return of the client's file; failure to respond to the lawful demand for information requested by the Virginia State Bar; and obstruction of the bar's investigation of these matters.

go to opinion

 

May 29, 2002

John E. Robins, Jr., 111 Alleghany Road, Hampton, Virginia 23661-3406

VSB Docket Numbers 99-010-1351 & 99-010-2659

On May 22, 2002, a three-judge panel of the Hampton Circuit Court issued a public reprimand with terms to John E. Robins, Jr. This was an agreed disposition of disciplinary charges in two cases. In the first case, Mr. Robins did not notify his client that the Court of Appeals had denied his appeal. He also failed to notify the client about the suspension of his license to practice law, although he notified approximately three hundred other clients. In the second case, Mr. Robins was delinquent in filing the inventory and accountings for an estate over a seven-year period. If Mr. Robins fails to comply with the agreed upon terms of this disposition, his license to practice law will be suspended for one year.

go to opinion

 

 

May 17, 2002* **

Mary Meade, Suite 900, 7799 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043-2413

VSB Docket No. 00-051-1849

On May 17, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Mary Meade's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia for a period of thirteen months. The board found that in defending a complaint made to the bar concerning her failure to pay a court reporter, Ms. Meade engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; failed to respond to the bar's lawful demand for information; and obstructed the bar's investigation of the court reporter's complaint.

go to opinion

*On July 23, 2002, Mary Meade filed an appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court.

**On February 7, 2003, the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Disciplinary Board to suspend Mary Meade’s license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  An order of suspension was entered by the Disciplinary Board suspending Ms. Meade on February 28, 2003.

 

May 17, 2002

Paul Dennis Ziegler, Jr., 3604 Elkton Drive, Chesapeake, Virginia 23321

VSB Docket Number 01-010-2534

On May 17, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board issued a Public Reprimand to Paul Dennis Ziegler, Jr. The Board found that Mr. Ziegler, a Lieutenant in the Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps, committed a crime or other deliberately wrongful act, in violation of Rule 8.4(B) of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct. The charges were based upon an October 23, 2000 shoplifting incident in which Mr. Ziegler placed a watch in his pants pocket, purchased another item, and left the store without paying for the watch. Store security found him outside of the store in the mall food court adjusting the watch while he waited for a food order.

go to opinion

 

May 17, 2002*

Charles Daugherty Fugate, II, Highway 58 at State Route 892, Jonesville, Virginia 24263

VSB Docket No. 00-00-1475

On May 17, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Charles Daugherty Fugate, II's license to practice law. The revocation was based upon his guilty pleas and convictions in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia to two federal felony charges of mail fraud stemming from a scheme to defraud Lee County Community Hospital.

go to opinion

go to reconsideration opinion

*On August 16, 2002, Charles Daugherty Fugate, II, filed an appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court.

 

May 17, 2002*  ** ***

Beverly Diane Crawford, 3117 West Clay Street, Suite 2, Richmond, VA 23230

VSB DOCKET NO. 98-032-1130

On Friday, May 17, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Beverly Diane Crawford's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia, effective May 17, 2002. The board found that as the attorney for the executrix of an estate Crawford charged the estate unreasonable fees and failed to attend promptly to matters related to the administration of the estate until completed. In imposing the revocation the board also found that Crawford had failed to comply with the terms of an order of continuance entered in the case on January 29, 2002. The board also denied Crawford's last minute motion to continue the trial date of May 17, 2002, based upon her alleged inability to appear for medical reasons.

go to opinion

*On May 24, 2002, Ms. Crawford filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the Disciplinary Board.  The Board refused her motion.

go to reconsideration opinion

**On July 11, 2002, Beverly Diane Crawford filed an appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court.

***On November 27, 2002, the Virginia Supreme Court dismissed Beverly Diane Crawford appeal.  Also, on February 28, 2003, the Virginia Supreme Court denied Ms. Crawford’s petition for rehearing.

 

May 13, 2002*

Barry Randolph Koch, 575 Lynnhaven Parkway, Suite 200, Virginia Beach, VA 23452-6715

VSB Docket No. 02-021-0258

On May 9, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Second District Committee, Section I, issued a public reprimand to attorney Barry Randolph Koch after finding that Mr. Koch failed to act promptly on a client's domestic matter and failed to communicate with the client on multiple occasions regarding the status of the representation.

*On May 31, 2002, Barry Randolph Koch filed an appeal to the Disciplinary Board.

 

May 13, 2002

Mark Thomas Crossland, 12620 Lake Ridge Drive, Woodbridge, VA 22192

VSB Docket Nos. 99-053-1440 and 99-053-2646

On May 13, 2002, a subcommittee of the Fifth District-Section III Committee of the Virginia State Bar issued two public reprimands to Mark Thomas Crossland.

In a real estate matter, Mr. Crossland was found to have violated disciplinary rules relating to supervision of nonlawyer personnel and to promptness in connection with his failure to file a timely certificate of satisfaction releasing a deed of trust following a residential real estate settlement. In an estate matter, he was found to have violated disciplinary rules relating to supervision of nonlawyer personnel and to competence and promptness in connection with his failure to file a timely and proper accounting with the commissioner of accounts.

go to opinion (1440)

go to opinion (2646)

 

May 3, 2002

Alexandra Divine Bowen, 1919 Huguenot Road, Suite 300, Richmond, Virginia 23235-4321

VSB Docket Nos. 01-033-0480 and 01-033-2297

On April 22, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Third District Committee, Section III, issued a public reprimand with terms to Alexandra Divine Bowen. In connection with Ms. Bowen's representation of a client in a divorce proceeding, the district committee found that Ms. Bowen failed to keep her client reasonably informed about the status of the proceeding and failed to supervise non-lawyer employees who communicated with, or should have communicated with, the client. In connection with Ms. Bowen's representation of a client in a custody matter, the district committee found that Ms. Bowen failed to keep her client reasonably informed about the status of the matter and did not act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing the client. The terms imposed by the district committee require Ms. Bowen to complete a 20 hour mentoring program and 80 hours of supervised pro bono service.

go to opinion

 

May 1, 2002

Paul Cornelious Bland, P.O. Box 402, Petersburg, VA 23804-0402

VSB Docket Nos. 00-031-2092, 99-031-1708, 00-031-3456, 99-031-0921 and 99-031-0907

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board accepted an agreed disposition imposing a four month suspension with terms on Paul Cornelious Bland, beginning August 16, 2002. The terms, which commence immediately, include continuing legal education courses, retention of a law office management consultant and creation of office policies. Mr. Bland was charged with misconduct in five matters. The misconduct included trust account record keeping violations, failure to communicate, failure to handle client matters promptly and neglect.

to to opinion



April 29, 2002

William Pickett Shea, Jr., 6269 Leesburg Pike, Suite 102, Falls Church, VA 22044

VSB Docket No. 02-000-2961

Effective May 1, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended William Pickett Shea's license to practice law based on a disability. The action was by agreement and was continued to June 28, 2002, for further review.

go to opinion

 

April 29, 2002

Oscar de Leon Noblejas, Noblejas & Associates, P.C., P.O. Box 10856, Burke, VA 22009-0856

VSB Docket No. 02-000-2794

On April 26, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Oscar de Leon Noblejas's license to practice law for failing to comply with the terms a prior public reprimand. On November 16, 2001, the board reprimanded Mr. Noblejas and ordered him to pay his client's medical expenses by February 1, 2002. He did not pay the expenses, and the board imposed the alternate sanction of revocation.

go to opinion

 

April 29, 2002

Terry Lee Van Horn, 513 Forest Avenue, Richmond, VA 23229

VSB Docket Nos. 99-033-3099, 00-033-3186, and 01-033-1633

On April 26, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board accepted an agreed disposition suspending Terry Van Horn with terms for three years, beginning May 27, 2002. The alternate disposition for non-compliance with the terms is revocation of Mr. Van Horn's law license. Mr. Van Horn admitted engaging in misconduct consisting of failure to communicate with clients and others, lack of promptness and diligence in attending to client matters and charging fees that were unreasonable and not adequately explained. He also admitted that he engaged in conduct involving fraud, deceit and misrepresentation, which reflect adversely upon his fitness to practice law.

The terms imposed require Mr. Van Horn to undergo medical, psychiatric and neuropsychological evaluations and to submit periodic reports from his medical care providers to the bar while he is suspended from the practice of law.

go to opinion



April 29, 2002

Luther Cornelius Edmonds, 1225 Bossevain Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia 23507

VSB Docket No. 98-022-2497


On April 26, 2002, in Docket No. 98-022-2497, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board issued a public reprimand to Luther Cornelius Edmonds for his conduct in a federal court lawsuit. The board found that Mr. Edmonds presented unwarranted claims in a suit he filed against circuit court judges in Norfolk, the Judicial Inquiry Review Commission and others. Mr. Edmonds had been sanctioned by the federal judge who dismissed the suit.

go to opinion



April 29, 2002

Luther Cornelius Edmonds, 1225 Bossevain Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia 23507

VSB Docket No. 00-022-1227

Also on April 26, 2002, in Docket No. 00-022-1227, the board imposed a six month suspension of Mr. Edmonds' license to practice law in Virginia. The board found Mr. Edmonds presented unwarranted claims in a suit he filed on behalf of a client, and that he filed suit when it was obvious the suit served merely to harass and maliciously injure one of the defendants in the suit, a state circuit court judge. As in the matter reported above, the federal court had dismissed the suit and sanctioned Mr. Edmonds.

go to opinion


April 26, 2002

Paul Marcus Lipkin, 1233 Botetourt Gardens, Norfolk, VA 23517

VSB Docket Nos. 02-022-2599 and 02-022-2600


On April 25, 2002, Paul Marcus Lipkin surrendered his license to practice law. In 1999, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Mr. Lipkin's license for three years, and he had been ineligible to practice since that time. At the time of the surrender, the bar was investigating two additional complaints.

 

April 16, 2002

John Henry Partridge, 761 Monroe Street, Herndon, VA 20171

VSB Docket No. 00-053-0374

On March 26, 2002, the Fifth District Committee, Section III, issued a public reprimand to John Henry Partridge. In connection with an immigration matter, the district committee found that Mr. Partridge violated disciplinary rules requiring an attorney to attend promptly to a matter undertaken for a client and to keep the client reasonably informed about the matter.

The public reprimand was issued following the district committee's finding that Mr. Partridge failed to comply with terms offered as a condition of the imposition of private discipline.

go to opinion

 

April 11, 2002

William P. Robinson, Jr., 256 West Freemason Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1221

VSB Docket No. 00-022-1581

The Virginia State Bar Second District Subcommittee, Section II, issued a public reprimand to William P. Robinson, Jr. The subcommittee found that Mr. Robinson failed to promptly file the appeal in a criminal matter, failed to promptly respond to a motion to dismiss a habeas corpus petition, and failed to keep his client reasonably informed throughout the process. Mr. Robinson agreed to the imposition of the public reprimand.

go to opinion

April 3, 2002*

James Daniel Kilgore, P.O. Box 918, Wise, Virginia 24293-0918

VSB Docket No. 02-000-2781

On April 1, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended James Daniel Kilgore's license to practice law and set a show cause hearing for April 26, 2002. The action was based on an order of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia, Roanoke (Big Stone Gap) Division, disbarring Mr. Kilgore from the practice of law in that court. At the April 26th hearing, Mr. Kilgore will be required to show why his license should not be further suspended or revoked.

*April 29, 2002

James Daniel Kilgore, P.O. Box 918, Wise, Virginia 24293-0918

VSB Docket No. 02-000-2781

On April 26, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked James Daniel Kilgore's license to practice law in Virginia. The revocation was based on an order of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia, Roanoke (Big Stone Gap) Division, disbarring Mr. Kilgore from the practice of law in that court.

go to opinion

April 3, 2002* **

Vincent Napoleon Godwin, 22253 Deep Bottom Drive, Carrollton, Virginia 23314

VSB Docket No. 02-000-2789

On March 29, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended Vincent Napoleon Godwin's license to practice law and set a show cause hearing for April 26, 2002. The action was based on Mr. Godwin's February 26, 2002, conviction of larceny in the Superior Court of the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. At the April 26th hearing, Mr. Godwin will be required to show why his license should not be further suspended or revoked.

*On April 26, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board granted a general continuance. Mr.Godwin's license remains suspended until further order of the board.

**On May 21, 2004, the board revoked Mr. Godwin’s license to practice law in Virginia and made the revocation effective at the end of an existing three year suspension for misconduct.  The misconduct suspension was imposed by the board on December 12, 2003.

go to opinion (posted 6/11/04)

April 3, 2002*

Norvill Sherman Clark, 2575 Alvin Ave. # 228, San Jose, CA 95121-1674

VSB Docket #02-080-2153

On March 29th 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended Norvill Sherman Clark's license to practice law. The action was based on Mr. Clark's December 14th 2001, guilty plea and conviction to three counts of misdemeanor false pretense in the Circuit Court of Raleigh County, West Virginia. Mr. Clark was ordered to appear before the board on April 26th 2002, to show cause why his license should not be further suspended or revoked.

*April 29, 2002

Norvill Sherman Clark, 2575 Alvin Avenue #228, San Jose, California

VSB Docket No. 02-000-2153

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Norvill Sherman Clark's law license following a hearing on April 26, 2002. Mr. Clark pled guilty to three counts of false pretenses in Raleigh County, West Virginia. The convictions arose from Mr. Clark's admitted larceny, forgery and uttering of personal checks belonging to an elderly, disabled man from whom Mr. Clark rented a room. Mr. Clark's crimes were the result of substance abuse for which he was actively seeking treatment and recovery. The board found that the victim's vulnerability and nature of the offenses warranted revocation of Mr. Clark's law license.

go to opinion



March 27, 2002

Ellen Compere Reynolds, Danville District Office, 155 Deer Run Road, Danville, Virginia 24540

VSB Docket No. 00-090-2733 and 00-090-2892


On March 22, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board issued a public reprimand to Ellen Compere Reynolds for her conduct in a child support matter. The board found that Ms. Reynolds took frivolous legal positions before the Danville Circuit Court and the Virginia Court of Appeals when she opposed a pro se father's efforts to set aside a finding of an arrearage of child support. Ms. Reynolds is special counsel for the Virginia Department of Child Support Enforcement.

go to opinion




March 25, 2002

Robert Edward Howard, 2207 Ward Place, Alexandria, Virginia 22304

Re: VSB Docket Nos. 99-042-2586, 00-042-0234 and 00-042-2504

Effective April 1, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Robert E. Howard's license to practice law for 60 days pursuant to an agreed disposition. The board found Mr. Howard violated disciplinary rules in connection with his advertising in the Vietnamese community, his failure to supervise an employee, and his tender of a bad check to a translator hired on behalf of a client. The terms of the suspension required Mr. Howard to attend continuing legal education programs and to make restitution to individuals victimized by his dishonest employee.

go to opinion

March 22, 2002*

Kenneth Harrison Fails, II, Suite 920, 1850 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036

VSB Docket Nos. 00-042-2504, 00-042-2638, 01-042-1308, 01-042-1309 and 01-042-1387

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Kenneth Harrison Fails II's license to practice law in Virginia, effective March 22, 2002. The board found that Mr. Fails engaged in the practice of law while his license was suspended and that he lacked competence and diligence in the handling of client matters before state and federal courts. Mr. Fails' disciplinary record was taken into consideration in the board''s decision to revoke his license.

go to opinion

*On May 28, 2002, Kenneth Harrison Fails, II filed an appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court.

On January 10, 2003, the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the Disciplinary Board’s decision to revoke the license of Kenneth Harrison Fails, II, licensed to practice law in Virginia. go to opinion (This is a Word document on the Supreme Court's Web site)

 


March 19, 2002

Gary M. Breneman, Breneman & Associates, P.O. Box 3808, Reston, Virginia 20195

VSB Docket No. 00-051-0899

The Virginia State Bar Fifth District Committee issued a public reprimand to Gary M. Breneman. Mr. Breneman was hired to draft a will and advance directives. The client paid one half of the fee in advance. Despite requests from the client, Mr. Breneman did not produce the documents or refund the fee until after the client filed a complaint with the bar. Mr. Breneman also did not cooperate with the bar's investigation of the complaint.

go to opinion

 

March 12, 2002

Walter Franklin Green, IV, 77 North Liberty St., P.O. Box 512, Harrisonburg, VA 22801-0512

VSB Docket No. 97-070-0897

The Virginia State Bar Seventh District Committee issued a public reprimand with terms to Walter Franklin Green, IV for failing to properly withdraw from representing a client. Mr. Green's failure to withdraw occurred at the time his client's appeal was pending in the Court of Appeals, and Mr. Green did not seek the court's permission to withdraw.

go to opinion

 

March 12, 2002

Martin William Boelens, Jr., 10520 Emerald Chase Drive, Orlando, FL 32836

VSB Docket No. 02-033-2201


Martin William Boelens, Jr. surrendered his license to practice law in Virginia. The board revoked his license on March 12, 2002. On January 7, 2002, Mr. Boelens pled to grand larceny and conspiracy charges in the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

 

March 6, 2002

Wesley Lee Pendergrass, Suite 327, 2013 Cunningham Drive, Hampton, Virginia 23666-3304

VSB Docket No. 00-010-3192

The Virginia State Bar First District Committee issued a public reprimand with terms to Wesley Lee Pendergrass following a hearing on February 7, 2002. The committee found that Mr. Pendergrass failed to perfect an appeal for his court-appointed client, although he agreed to do so, and the client repeatedly asked him to do so. Instead, Mr. Pendergrass allowed the appeal to lapse, waited several months, then filed a motion to reduce or modify his client's sentence. The motion was denied. The committee considered Mr. Pendergrass's prior disciplinary record in issuing the public reprimand with terms.

go to opinion

 

February 25, 2002

Gay Lynn Tonelli, Suite B, 145 King Street, P.O. Box 567, Keysville, Virginia 23947

VSB Docket No. 00-090-2323

On February 15, 2002, the Disciplinary Board affirmed the Ninth District Committee's imposition of a public reprimand after Gay Lynn Tonelli withdrew her appeal of the public reprimand. The district committee imposed the public reprimand on November 16, 2001 for Ms. Tonelli's neglect of a domestic relations matter, failure to communicate with her client, and failure to cooperate with the bar's investigation.

go to opinion

go to district committee determination

February 25, 2002

Michael Andrew Burchett, 128 Carnousi Road, Franklin, TN 37069

VSB Docket No. 99-070-1899

On February 20, 2002, the Disciplinary Board revoked Michael Andrew Burchett's license to practice law. Mr. Burchett's license was suspended in 1997, and he had not been eligible to practice in the commonwealth since that time. The board was scheduled to hear additional misconduct charges against Mr. Burchett arising from his failure to properly close his practice following the 1997 suspension. Mr. Burchett surrendered his license before the hearing. Under the bar's rules, the surrender constitutes an admission of the pending charges.

February 21, 2002

Sa'ad El-Amin, 24 Overbrook Road, Richmond, VA 23222

VSBDocket Nos. 97-032-0911, 98-032-0752, 98-032-2823, 99-032-1058, 99-032-1449, 99-032-1786, 00-032-0191, 99-032-1832, 99-032-1924, 99-032-2748, 97-032-1479, 99-032-0850 and 99-032-2240

On February 21, 2002, Sa'ad El-Amin surrendered his license to practice law in Virginia. Beginning February 21, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board was scheduled to hear misconduct charges in thirteen cases against Mr. El-Amin. Mr. El-Amin elected to have charges in a fourteenth case heard by a three-judge circuit court. In the cases before the Disciplinary Board, Mr. El-Amin was charged with failing to supervise his staff, charging an unreasonable fee, attempting to have attorney's fees paid to his firm instead of to himself personally and neglecting preparation of a civil case. Mr. El-Amin was also charged with failure to communicate with a client, filing an action with no legal basis to do so, misrepresenting the amount of attorney's fees earned in a case, having a trust account in which there were insufficient funds, failing to file an appellate brief timely, failing to return a client's file, incompetence and failing to complete a client representation or withdraw. Mr. El-Amin was also charged with leading a client to believe that her case was still viable when it had been dismissed, failing to appear for oral argument in the appeal of a criminal conviction, receiving structured settlement payments for his client and failing to disburse the funds to the client, failing to honor medical liens in a personal injury case and being unprepared for trial. Mr. El-Amin was also charged with nonsuiting an action without first informing his client and then explaining the nonsuit by stating that a summoned doctor had failed to appear when it appears the doctor was never summoned. Under the Rules of the Supreme Court, the surrender constitutes an admission of the pending charges. Mr. El-Amin's license was suspended for four years on October 1, 1999. When he surrendered his license, the bar was investigating fourteen additional complaints against Mr. El-Amin.

February 11, 2002*

M.T. Kissinger, Jr., 9610 Sherwood Place, Apartment 31, Norfolk, Virginia 23503

VSB Docket No. 01-000-2767


On January 25, 2002, the Disciplinary Board recommended that the Supreme Court of Virginia grant M.T. Kissinger's petition for reinstatement of his license to practice law. The recommendation was filed with the court, which will take final action on Mr. Kissinger's petition.

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*On April 26, 2002, the Virginia Supreme Court approved Mercer Theodore Kissinger, Jr.’s, petition for reinstatement of his license to practice law.  Final action will be taken by the Court upon receipt of evidence from Mr. Kissinger that he has met certain requirements.

 

February 7, 2002

Raymond William Konan, Suite T-10, 6001 Arlington Boulevard, Falls Church, Virginia 22044

VSB Docket No. 98-052-2517

On February 5, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board issued a public reprimand with terms to Raymond William Konan. The board found that Mr. Konan filed an invalid mechanic's lien against his estranged wife's house and faxed a misleading letter to his wife's real estate agent to stop the sale of the house. Mr. Konan was sanctioned $2500 by the Fairfax Circuit Court for his actions regarding the mechanic's lien.

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January 29, 2002*

Martin G. Mullen, 8820 Fircrest Place, Alexandria, Virginia 22308

VSB Docket No. 02-000-1877

On January 25, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended Martin G. Mullen's license to practice law in Virginia and set a show cause hearing for February 22, 2002. The action was based on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's four-year suspension of Mr. Mullen's license to practice patent law before that federal agency. At the February 22nd hearing, Mr. Mullen will be required to show why the board should not suspend his Virginia license for four years.

*May 8, 2002

Martin G. Mullen, 8820 Fircrest Place, Alexandria, Virginia 22308

VSB Docket No. 02-000-1877

On May 7, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Martin G. Mullen's license to practice law in Virginia for four years. The Board took this reciprocal action based on a four year suspension by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) of Mr. Mullen's license to practice law before that federal agency. The PTO suspension was agreed to by Mr. Mullen and was based upon his neglect in handling 14 patent applications.

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January 28, 2002*

Malcolm Bruce Wittenberg, 1999 Harrison Street, Oakland, CA 94612

VSB Docket No. 02-000-2065

On January 25, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended Malcolm Bruce Wittenberg's license to practice law. The action was based on Mr. Wittenberg's December 14, 2001, guilty plea and conviction of insider trading in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Mr. Wittenberg was ordered to appear before the board on February 22, 2002, to show cause why his license should not be further suspended or revoked.

*On February 22, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Mr. Whittenberg's license to practice law as a result of his felony conviction.

January 25, 2002*

Jean Veness, 329 River Forest Road, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23454

VSB Docket No. 02-000-1795


On January 25, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended Jean Veness's license to practice law in Virginia. The action was based on an order of the New York Supreme Court suspending her New York law license for one year. Ms. Veness was ordered to appear before the board on February 22, 2002, to show cause why her license to practice in Virginia should not further suspended.

*On February 22, 2002, the Disciplinary Board suspended Jean Veness's license to practice law in Virginia for one year.

January 25, 2002*

Robert Brown Patterson, P.O. Box 2051, Middleburg, VA 20118

VSB Docket No. 02-000-1882

On January 25, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended Robert Brown Patterson's license to practice law. The board's action was based on Mr. Patterson's November 30, 2001, guilty plea and conviction in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division for theft of government property. Mr. Patterson stole Veteran's Administrations checks and funds that were intended for his deceased mother-in-law.

*On February 22, 2002, Robert Brown Patterson surrendered his license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


January 25, 2002

Robert Henry Smallenberg, 7 South Adams Street, Richmond, Virginia 23220-5601

VSB Docket No. 00-032-1370

The Virginia State Bar Third District Committee issued a public reprimand to Robert Henry Smallenberg. A subcommittee found that Mr. Smallenberg filed a legal malpractice action against an attorney with whom a principal in Mr. Smallenberg's law firm had a long standing history of ill will. The subcommittee also found that Mr. Smallenberg knew that there was no legal basis for the malpractice action and that the principal was bringing the lawsuit to harass or maliciously injure the defendant attorney. The circuit court imposed more than $32,000 in sanctions against Mr. Smallenberg and his law firm for filing an unwarranted lawsuit. The sanctions were affirmed by the Virginia Supreme Court. The public reprimand is an agreed disposition of the disciplinary charges against Mr. Smallenberg.

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January 23, 2002

Joseph Brian Sheridan, 8651 Devon Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23503

VSB Docket Nos. 02-000-1323, 99-021-1074, 99-021-2093, 99-021-3211 and 00-021-1679

On January 17, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board indefinitely suspended Joseph Brian Sheridan's license to practice law due to a disability. This was an agreed disposition of five misconduct cases against Mr. Sheridan. The board also found disciplinary rule violations in each of the cases. If the disability suspension is ever lifted, the violations could result in further sanctions.

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January 22, 2002

Dianne E. Wilcox, 1833 Joco Lane, Moneta, Virginia 24121

VSB Docket No. 98-080-1433

On January 15, 2002, Dianne E. Wilcox tendered a petition to surrender her license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. On January 23, 2002, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board was scheduled to hear charges arising from Ms. Wilcox's mishandling of an estate, including overpayment of hundreds of thousands of dollars in purported commissions to herself from the estate fiduciary account. Ms. Wilcox also was charged with wrongfully treating her purchase of the decedent's $219,000 house as a gift and wrongfully treating a $50,000 loan she received from the decedent as a purchase of stock in a corporation in which she had a interest. She valued the decedent's purported interest in the corporation at $14,652.09 when he died two months later. The bar previously pursued a civil action against Ms. Wilcox's mishandling of the estate that resulted in a court order removing her as the administrator of the estate.

January 22, 2002

Scott Meadows Reed, Suite 600, One Columbus Center, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462

VSB Docket Nos. 00-022-3181, 01-022-2525, 02-022-1147 and 02-022-1324

On January 16, 2002, Scott Meadows Reed surrendered his license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board was scheduled to hear disciplinary charges against Mr. Reed on January 25, 2002. He was charged with mishandling client funds, violating trust account rules, and lying to a Virginia State Bar investigator. Under the bar's rules, the surrender constitutes an admission of those charges. The bar was investigating three other complaints against Mr. Reed. This is the second time Mr. Reed's license has been revoked. He surrendered his license with charges pending in 1986, and it was reinstated in 1993.

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Disciplinary Actions January 2000 - June 2000

Disciplinary Actions July 1999 - December 1999

Disciplinary Actions January 22, 1999 - June 1999