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Disciplinary Actions Taken by the
Virginia State Bar

July 2000–December 2000

December 20, 2000

Zane Bruce Scott, 152 Depot Street, Gate City, Virginia 24251.

VSB Docket No. 99-102-0092

On December 15, 2000, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Zane Bruce Scott's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The board found that while he was an Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney for Wise County, Mr. Scott had sexual relationships with two women who were charged with felonies in the county. In each case, he either used his office or offered to use his office to help with the pending felony charge. He later tried to get one of the women and her attorney to withhold evidence and misrepresent the truth about the sexual relationship.

The Disciplinary Board determined Mr. Scott violated several Disciplinary Rules, including DR 1-102(A)(3)(4) and DR 7-102(A)(6)(8) and DR 7-103(A)(1)(2) and DR 8-101(A)(3) and DR 9-101(C).

go to opinion

 


December 15, 2000

Woodson Terry Drumheller, P.O. Box 713, Richmond, Virginia 23218-0713.

VSB Docket Nos. 00-033-3060, 00-033-3281, 00-033-3312, 01-033-0004, 01-033-0090
01-033-0098, 01-033-0922, 01-000-1103


Woodson Terry Drumheller petitioned the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board to surrender his license to practice law in Virginia with disciplinary charges pending on December 14, 2000. The board accepted the petition and revoked his license on December 15, 2000. Summaries of the charges will be forwarded to the Virginia Supreme Court.

 

December 15, 2000

George C. Rawlings, Jr., 405 Amelia Street, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401-3821.

VSB Docket Nos. 00-061-2739, 00-061-3365, 00-061-3427, 01-061-0239, 01-061-0437
01-061-0438, 01-061-0439, 01-061-0778, 01-061-0808, 01-061-0809
01-061-0810, 01-061-0879, 01-061-0934, 01-061-0968, 01-061-0977
01-061-1006, 01-061-1088, 01-061-1091, 01-061-1099, 01-061-1109
01-061-1117 and 01-061-1215

George C. Rawlings, Jr., petitioned the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board to surrender his license to practice law in Virginia with disciplinary charges pending on December 14, 2000. The board accepted the petition and revoked his license on December 15, 2000. Summaries of the charges will be forwarded to the Virginia Supreme Court.

 

December 1, 2000

Victor Alan Motley, P.O. Box 25786, Richmond, Virginia 23260-5786

VSB Docket Nos. 96-032-2446, 96-032-2545 and 98-032-1045

On November 30, 2000, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Victor Alan Motley's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia for eighteen months. The board's earlier order imposing the suspension for mishandling a real estate transaction and mismanaging his trust account was recently affirmed by the Virginia Supreme Court.
S. Ct. opinion (to text file at the Supreme Court of Virginia Web page)

In addition, Mr. Motley was publicly reprimanded for misconduct in two other cases. One Public Reprimand was for failing to inform a client in a criminal case of the denial of his appeal to the Court of Appeals in time to appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court. The second Public Reprimand was for failing to "attend promptly" to a real estate transaction and for failing to keep his client informed. The Virginia Supreme Court affirmed both Public Reprimands.
S. Ct. opinion (to text file at the Supreme Court of Virginia Web page)


 

November 27, 2000

Antonio Pierre Jackson, 113 North Virginia Street, Farmville, Virginia 23901

VSB Docket No. 99-090-3213

On October 10, 2000, pursuant to an Agreed Disposition a subcommittee of the Ninth District Committee issued a Public Reprimand with Terms to Antonio Pierre Jackson for violations of DR 6-101(A), 6-101(B), and 6-101(C). These disciplinary rules require a lawyer to undertake representation only in matters in which the lawyer can act with competence and promptness.

On or about February 18, 1999, a circuit court clerk wrote the respondent advising him of his appointment as counsel for the complainant in his appeal of his criminal conviction from the Virginia Court of Appeals to the Virginia Supreme Court. On or about March 23, 1999, the circuit court entered an order appointing the Respondent as counsel. On April 22, 1999, the respondent filed a Motion for Extension of Time with the Virginia Supreme Court, requesting "an additional week" in which to prepare and file the Petition for Appeal. On or about April 27, 1999, the Supreme Court of Virginia entered an order denying the motion. On or about May 4, 1999, the complainant wrote the Supreme Court of Virginia to inquire about the status of his appeal. On or about May 7, 1999, the complainant learned from the clerk's office that the Motion for Extension of Time had been denied and that no petition for appeal had been filed in his case. On or about July 9, 1999, after the complainant filed a bar complaint, the respondent first advised his client that the Court had dismissed the petition for appeal because it was not timely filed.

In addition to the Public Reprimand, the subcommittee imposed terms requiring that on or before July 31, 2001, the respondent certify in writing to bar counsel his attendance at an approved continuing legal education course or viewing of a videotape of an approved continuing legal education course, offering two or more hours of continuing education credits, that deals with appellate practice or legal ethics.

 



November 28, 2000

Donald H. Spitzli, Jr., Pembroke One Building, Suite 605, 281 Independence Boulevard, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462

VSB Docket No. 97-021-2888

On September 14, 2000, a hearing was held before a panel of the Second District, Section One Committee of the Virginia State Bar. Following the hearing, the panel issued a Public Reprimand to Donald H. Spitzli, Jr. for violating of DR 1-102(A) and DR 1-102(A)(3). These Disciplinary Rules state that a lawyer shall not violate a disciplinary rule or knowingly aid another to do so, and a lawyer shall not commit a crime or other deliberately wrongful act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's fitness to practice law.

Mr. Spitzli was the seller of a residential condominium. He certified that he had no knowledge of loans that were made or would be made to the borrower, or loans that had been or would be assumed by the borrower for purposes of financing, other than those described in the sales contract. However, Mr. Spitzli had knowledge of, and subsequently came into possession of a promissory note in the amount of the purchaser's down payment. In addition, there were two additional promissory notes totaling over $50,000, which were part of the purchase price but not shown on the HUD-1 statement. These promissory notes were also signed over to Mr. Spitzli following the transaction.

 

November 27, 2000

Bruce Wilson McLaughlin, P.O. Box 340, Leesburg, Virginia 20178

VSB Docket No. 01-000-0925

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended the law license of Mr. McLaughlin by order dated November 22, 2000. On July 18, 2000, Mr. McLaughlin pled guilty in the Circuit Court of Loudoun County (Criminal No. 12928) to the felony of escape under Virginia Code Section 18.2-479. A hearing will be held before the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board on December 15, 2000, at which Mr. McLaughlin will have the opportunity to show cause why his license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia should not be further suspended or revoked. The summary suspension order was entered pursuant to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13(E).

 

November 27, 2000

David Thomas Steckler, 1301 Princess Anne Street, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401

VSB Docket Nos. 00-00-1274 and 00-061-1972

On November 17, 2000, the Disciplinary Board revoked Mr. Steckler's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Mr. Steckler did not appear.

On July 16, 1999, a panel of three circuit court judges suspended Mr. Steckler's license for one year for misappropriating a real estate deposit. The Disciplinary Board found that during the same period Mr. Steckler misappropriated $96,830 in connection with another real estate transaction in which he acted as settlement agent. Mr. Steckler subsequently closed his office and left Virginia. His current whereabouts are unknown.

The board determined that Mr. Steckler's conduct violated DR 1-102(A)(1), (3) and (4), as well as DR 9-102(B), and that he did not furnish proof that he gave the required notice of his one-year suspension to any clients he may have had, opposing counsel or judges in pending litigation.

Steckler Misconduct Opinion

Steckler K(1) Opinion

Steckler Crespa Opinion



November 15, 2000

Roy David Bradley, P.O. Box 1006, Madison, Virginia 22727

VSB Docket No. 98-070-0964

On October 6, 2000, the Seventh District Committee of the Virginia State Bar issued a Public Reprimand with Terms to Roy David Bradley, Esq., who was found to have violated DR 1-102(A)(3) and (4), and DR 7-102(A)(1 through 8).

The Committee found that in furtherance of an intention to establish an adverse possession claim in favor of his client, Mr. Bradley prepared, caused to be executed, and recorded in the land records of Madison County, Virginia, a "deed of conveyance" of real property wherein his client was the grantee. At the time of these actions Mr. Bradley had actual knowledge that the grantor in such deed had no legal, equitable, or other interest of any kind in the property described in the deed. The Committee further found that at the time of these actions Mr. Bradley either knew, or upon the conduct of a reasonable inquiry should have known, that no evidence existed upon which there could be a colorable claim of adverse possession in favor of his client.

The Committee determined that Mr. Bradley should attend continuing legal education programs in the field of real estate transactions and legal ethics. Should Mr. Bradley fail to comply with the terms so imposed, the matter will be certified to the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board..



November 1, 2000

Madeleine Marie Reberkenny, 108 North Saint Asaph Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314

VSB Docket No. 01-000-0323

By order entered by the Disciplinary Board on May 26, 2000, respondent's license to practice law in Virginia was suspended for a period of thirteen (13) months, effective May 26, 2000, and she was ordered to furnish proof to the Virginia State Bar within sixty (60) days thereafter of her compliance with paragraph 13K(1) of IV, Part Six of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia. On the Virginia State Bar's motion for respondent to show cause why her license to practice law in Virginia should not be revoked or further suspended for a failure to comply with paragraph 13K(1) aforesaid as ordered, the Disciplinary Board found that respondent had failed to comply and thereupon suspended her license to practice law for a further period of two (2) years effective June 26, 2001, and ordered her to comply with paragraph 13K(1) aforesaid with respect to such further suspension.


 

November 1, 2000

John Tyler Stant, City Center, Suite 210, 223 East City Hall Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia 23510

VSB Docket No. 01-000-0917

This matter came before the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board via an Agreed Order of Disability and Suspension.

On October 30, 2000, the Disciplinary Board suspended Mr. Stant's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia for an indefinite period of time.



October 26, 2000

Lloyd D. Rials, #1607, 2611 Bayshore Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33629

VSB Docket No. 99-000-1972

This matter came before the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board on a petition for reinstatement. After hearing evidence presented on behalf of the petitioner and the Bar, and consideration of all exhibits made part of the record, the panel finds unanimously that the petitioner has failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that his license should be reinstated. Therefore, the panel recommends against reinstatement.

On October 19, 2000, the Virginia Supreme Court denied Mr. Rials' petition for reinstatement.

 

October 26, 2000

Gary Michael Bowman, 12th Floor, 204 South Jefferson Street, Roanoke, Virginia 24011

VSB Docket No. 99-090-0243

While representing debtors in some bankruptcy actions, Mr. Bowman filed several pleadings and motions with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia, Roanoke Division, and the Roanoke City Circuit Court. On each occasion, Mr. Bowman endorsed a certificate of service stating that he had mailed copies of the documents to opposing counsel or to all parties on the mailing matrix. Mr. Bowman, however, did not mail the documents as certified. On some occasions, he hand-delivered them to opposing counsel on a later date, or mailed them on a later date. On some occasions, counsel learned of the filings only because the court notified them, or because they discovered them while reviewing the court's files. The Ninth District Committee heard the case on September 15, 2000. A majority of the panel held that Mr. Bowman's conduct amounted to fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, in violation of DR 1-102(A)(3) of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The panel also found by a unanimous decision that he violated DR 7-102(A)(5), which prohibits an attorney from knowingly making a false statement of law or fact while representing a client. After considering the misconduct proven and Mr. Bowman's prior disciplinary record, the Committee issued a Public Reprimand.

 

October 2, 2000

Walter Franklin Green, 77 North Liberty Street, P.O. Box 512, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22801-0512

VSB Docket Nos. 97-070-1467
98-070-1481

On September 19, 2000, pursuant to an Agreed Disposition entered into by Walter Franklin Green, IV, Esq., a Three-Judge Court issued a Public Reprimand with Terms to Walter Franklin Green, IV, Esq., who was found to have violated DR 6-101(A)(1), (B), (C), and (D), which disciplinary rules concern "competence and promptness."

In the first matter, the Three-Judge Court found that Mr. Green was hired in October, 1995, to file a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus on behalf of an incarcerated individual. It was not until March 13, 1997, that Mr. Green filed a pleading on behalf of his client. Mr. Green at that time filed a Petition to Vacate Sentence instead of the Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. The Court dismissed the petition, without prejudice, four days after it was filed.

In the second matter, Mr. Green was retained on behalf of a child's mother in April, 1996, to handle a custody and visitation appeal to a Circuit Court. Following a Circuit Court hearing in January of 1997, an Order was entered and copies were furnished to Mr. Green's office in early February, 1997. Mr. Green failed to forward a copy of the Order to his client, and the client's and client's father's noncompliance with the Order was the subject of a show cause hearing in March, 1997, which resulted in a ruling adverse to the client's interests.

The Order of the Three-Judge Court provides that Mr. Green return the fee paid, with interest, to the client's father in the first matter, and that he attend continuing legal education program(s) in the field of ethics. Should Mr. Green fail to comply with the terms so imposed, he will be subject to a thirty (30) day suspension of his license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

 

 

September 28, 2000

Andrew Robert Sebok, P.O. Box 1430, Norfolk, Virginia 23510

VSB Docket Nos. 98-022-2586, 98-021-2742, 98-021-2743, 99-021-0170, 99-022-0506 and 99-021-1231

On September 22, 2000, pursuant to an Agreed Disposition, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board, having consolidated for hearing a series of complaints, suspended the Respondent's license to practice law for a period of nine months with terms commencing on October 13, 2000.

Following the term of suspension, Respondent's right to practice shall be reinstated, subject to terms. If Respondent fails to fully comply with such terms, an additional five years of suspension shall be imposed.

The following facts were involved in the complaints heard:

VSB No. 98-022-2586

In 1993, Complainant hired Respondent to represent her in a contested divorce. In August of 1998, a final decree of divorce was entered by the court. In this decree, the court ordered that the Respondent, by October 1, 1998, was to prepare for entry three QDRO (qualified domestic relations order) orders for entry. As of the date of the Board's hearing, only one of the orders had been entered.

The Board found violation of DR 6-101 (B) and DR 7-101 (A).

VSB No. 98-022-0170

The Respondent was appointed to represent the Complainant to file a Habeas Corpus on his behalf following his conviction and sentencing on a charge of aggravated sexual battery and taking indecent liberties with a nine year old. Respondent failed to file a timely appeal. As a result, the appeal he filed was dismissed.


The Board found a violation of DR 6-101 (B).

VSB Nos. 98-022-2742 and 98-022-2743

These were companion complaints filed by the parents of an individual serving a sentence arising from a shooting. The Board found from the evidence presented that the Respondent failed to fully and adequately communicate with his client as to the necessary steps which needed to be taken to support his Habeas and to provide the necessary evidence to go forward with the same.


The Board found violation of DR 6-101 (C).

VSB No. 99-022-2586

Complainant employed Respondent to fie a 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion on behalf of her daughter who was serving a lengthy term of incarceration following her conviction on charges of transporting drugs. Respondent received a retainer which he deposited directly into his office account and began drawing against for personal uses rather than placing such funds into a trust account until earned.

Subsequently, Respondent failed to file the motion in a timely fashion. Rather than personally verifying the date by which the motion was to be filed, he relied upon the date as reported to him by the client and her mother. The motion was rejected for failure to file in a timely fashion. Thereafter, despite repeated requests, Respondent failed to return the fee he received from the Complainant.

The Board found violations of DR 6-101 (B) and DR 7-101(A).

VSB No. 99-022-0506

Complainant retained Respondent to file a petition on behalf of her husband, a alien illegally in the United States. The statute under which the petition was to be filed was subject to sunset legislation and was scheduled to expire at midnight on the day the Respondent agreed to assist the Complainant. The petition was prepared in a timely fashion, but the Respondent failed to file it as required prior to the midnight deadline. The petition filed was rejected as untimely.

Respondent had received a fee from the Complainant which he placed directly into his office account rather than a trust account until it was earned. Following Respondent's failure, despite repeated requests, he refused to reimburse the Complainant the fees which she had paid.

The Board found violations of DR 2-108 (D); DR 6-101 (B) and DR 9-102 (A) and (B).

Sebok Order

 

September 25, 2000

Timothy Wade Roof, 5269 Revere Drive, Norfolk, Virginia 23502-4926

VSB Docket No. 98-021-1505

On September 11, 2000, pursuant to an Agreed Disposition, a sub-committee of Section I Second District Committee of the Virginia State Bar issued a Public Reprimand with Terms to Timothy Wade Rood for violations of DR 9-102 (A) and DR 9-102 (B). These disciplinary rules require a lawyer to deposit all funds received on behalf of a client into a trust account. They further require prompt payment to the client of such funds to which the client is entitled and which are in the possession of the attorney.

On or about December 5, 1997, the EEOC defendant issued to Mr. Roof a United States Treasury check for $4,000, which Mr. Roof received on or before December 9, 1997. At that time, Roof failed to deposit the proceeds intact into his trust account. Rather, he split the proceeds by taking $1,000 of the check and depositing $3,000 of the $4,000 into his trust account on December 9, 1997. The client's share was $2,000. The client did not receive full payment on her $2,000 until January 14, 1998 when Mr. Roof paid her $1,350 cash. On January 9, 1998, Respondent had made a partial payment of $650 cash. A payment of $1,350, drawn on Respondent's trust account on January 12, 1998, had been returned for insufficient funds.

The terms require Roof to certify in writing to Bar Counsel on or before February 28, 2001, his attendance at an approved continuing legal education course, offering two or more hours of continuing education credits, that deals with the duties to preserve client confidences and to avoid conflicts of interests.

 

 

September 25, 2000

Craig Burgett Dunbar, c/o Richard S. Mendelson, Suite 300, 112 South Alfred Street, P.O. Box 19888, Alexandria, Virginia 22320-0888

VSB Docket Nos. 99-042-3194 and 01-000-0363

Craig Burgett Dunbar petitioned the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board to surrender his license to practice law in Virginia with disciplinary charges pending on September 22, 2000. The board accepted the petition and revoked his license on September 22, 2000. Summaries of the charges will be forwarded to the Virginia Supreme Court.
go to August 30 summary

 

 

September 25, 2000

Charles V. Bashara, Bashara & Hubbard, 414 West Bute Street, P.O. Box 3626, Norfolk, Virginia 23514-3636

VSB Docket No. 99-021-0657

On September 11, 2000, pursuant to an Agreed Disposition, a sub-committee of Section I Second District Committee of the Virginia State Bar issued a Public Reprimand with Terms to Charles V. Bashara for violations of DR 9-102 (B). This disciplinary rule requires a lawyer to promptly pay or deliver to the client or another as requested by such person funds in the possession of the attorney to which the person is entitled.

On April 9, 1997, Mr. Bashara settled his client's personal injury claim and disbursed settlement proceeds to his client. Prior thereto, Mr. Bashara had been notified of outstanding medical bills of health care provider Michael C. Ebner. At no time prior to or including the disbursement of the settlement proceeds did the client advise Mr. Bashara not to pay Dr. Ebner directly or express any opinion that Dr. Ebner's charges were excessive. Nonetheless, Mr. Bashara failed to pay either Dr. Ebner's outstanding charges or the statutory lien amount of his charges.

The terms require that on or before February 28, 2001, Mr. Bashara shall certify in writing to Assistant Bar Counsel his attendance at an approved continuing legal education course, offering two or more hours of continuing education credits, that deals with legal ethics including trust accounting.

 

 

September 5, 2000

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

VSB Docket No. 98-022-1063

On June 8, 2000, a hearing was held before a panel of the Second, Section II District Committee of the Virginia State Bar. Following the hearing, the panel issued a Public Reprimand to William P. Robinson, Jr. for violations of DR 1-102(A)(4), DR 6-101(B) and DR 6-101(C). These Disciplinary Rules require a lawyer to refrain from engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, deceit or misrepresentation, to promptly attend to matters undertaken for a client and to keep a client reasonably informed about matters in which the lawyers' services are being rendered.

In 1996, Mr. Robinson undertook to appeal criminal convictions for a client; however, he failed to file the Notice of Appeal in a timely fashion and the appeal was specifically dismissed for that reason. Mr. Robinson then filed a habeas corpus proceeding seeking a delayed appeal and claimed either the clerk of court or the court reporter was somehow at fault for the dismissal of the appeal. He also told his client the clerk was at fault for the dismissal of the appeal.

In a subsequent habeas petition for the same client, Mr. Robinson stated he did not have time to file the Notice of Appeal by the deadline; however, the hearing panel found he did have time and the Notice would have been considered timely filed if it was sent certified mail. The hearing panel found Mr. Robinson failed to act promptly in the appeal, was not honest about the reason for the dismissal of the appeal and failed to keep his client informed about the appeal.


 

August 30, 2000

John William Acree, Suite 109, 5441 Virginia Beach Boulevard, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462

VSB Docket Nos. 01-022-0167, 01-022-0168 and 01-022-0364

John William Acree petitioned the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board to surrender his license to practice law in Virginia with disciplinary charges pending on August 28, 2000. The board accepted the petition and revoked his license on August 29, 2000. Summaries of the charges will be forwarded to the Virginia Supreme Court.

 

August 30, 2000

Craig Burgett Dunbar

c/o Richard S. Mendelson, Suite 300, 112 South Alfred Street, P.O. Box 19888, Alexandria, Virginia 22320-0888

VSB Docket No. 01-000-0363

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended the law license of Mr. Dunbar by order dated August 25, 2000. On August 17, 2000, Mr. Dunbar pled guilty in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Criminal No. 00-293-A) to one count of mail fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341. A hearing will be held before the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board on September 22, 2000, at which Mr. Dunbar will have the opportunity to show cause why his license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia should not be further suspended or revoked. The summary suspension order was entered pursuant to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13(E).

 

August 25, 2000

Drew Virgil Tidwell, 156 Colony Court, Amherst, NY 14226-3509

VSB Docket No. 00-000-1453

Drew V. Tidwell appeared before a panel of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board on August 25, 2000, on a Rule to Show Cause why his licence should not be further suspended or revoked. The Show Cause Rule was based on Mr. Tidwell's loss of his license in New York because of a felony conviction. Mr. Tidwell argued against revocation on the theory that New York had not afforded him due process. The panel voted to revoke Mr. Tidwell's license effective August 25, 2000, holding that New York law had afforded him due process.
go to January 2, 2000 summary

 

 

August 24, 2000

Jane Chase Neal, P.O. Box 16, Stevensburg, Virginia 22741

VSB Docket No. 98-070-2577

Jane Chase Neal, petitioned the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board to surrender her license to practice law in Virginia with disciplinary charges pending on August 24, 2000, to be effective on August 24, 2000. The board accepted the petition and revoked her license on August 24, 2000. Summaries of the charges will be forwarded to the Virginia Supreme Court.

 

August 15, 2000

Darwyn H. Lesh, 2418 South Bay Street, Georgetown, SC 29440

VSB Docket No. 00-000-3182

Darwyn H. Lesh petitioned the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board to surrender his license to practice law in Virginia with disciplinary charges pending on August 14, 2000. The board accepted the petition and revoked his license on August 15, 2000. Summaries of the charges will be forwarded to the Virginia Supreme Court.
go to July 10 summary

 

August 11, 2000

John George Crandley, Preston, Wilson & Crandley, Suite 200, 2222 Commerce Parkway, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23454

VSB Docket No. 99-022-0070

On July 13, 2000, pursuant to an Agreed Disposition, a Second, Section II District Subcommittee of the Virginia State Bar issued a Public Reprimand with Terms to John George Crandley for violations of DR1-102(A)(3), DR7-102(A)(1), DR 7-105(A), and DR 7-105(C)(5). These Disciplinary Rules require a lawyer to refrain from committing a crime or other deliberately wrongful act which reflects adversely on his fitness to practice law, to refrain from conducting a defense or take other action when it is obvious such action serves to merely harass or maliciously injure another, to refrain from disregarding a ruling made in the course of a proceeding and to refrain from intentionally or habitually violating any established rule of procedure or evidence.

On June 30, 1998, Mr. Crandley appeared before Judge Edward W. Hanson, Jr. in Virginia Beach Circuit Court representing a defendant in a personal injury case. During the trial of the case, Mr. Crandley adopted a sarcastic and loud tone of voice during cross examination of the plaintiff's witnesses, prompting Judge Hanson to admonish Crandley to speak politely to all witnesses. Despite this admonition, Mr. Crandley continued to treat witnesses in a sarcastic and demeaning manner, prompting Judge Hanson to find Mr. Crandley in contempt of court, fine him $50 and admonish him that the next time he disobeyed the Court's instruction in that regard, he would go to jail. Later in the trial, Mr. Crandley again treated a witness in a sarcastic and demeaning manner, and Judge Hanson again found Mr. Crandley in contempt and imposed three days in jail, to be served in the evenings while trial proceeded. Mr. Crandley continued to argue with Judge Hanson, requiring the Judge to immediately send Mr. Crandley to jail and declare a mistrial of the case.

The Terms require Mr. Crandley to continue counseling, to avoid being held in contempt of court and to not engage in any conduct arising out of an appearance before any tribunal which is subsequently determined to be a violation of a Rule of Professional Conduct for a five year period from the date of the Subcommittee Determination.

 

 

August 11, 2000

John George Crandley, Preston, Wilson & Crandley, Suite 200, 2222 Commerce Parkway, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23454

VSB Docket No. 98-022-1476

On July 13, 2000, pursuant to an Agreed Disposition, a Second, Section II District Subcommittee of the Virginia State Bar issued a Public Reprimand with Terms to John George Crandley for violations of DR1-102(A)(3), DR7-102(A)(1), DR 7-105(A), and DR 7-105(C)(5). These Disciplinary Rules require a lawyer to refrain from committing a crime or other deliberately wrongful act which reflects adversely on his fitness to practice law, to refrain from conducting a defense or take other action when it is obvious such action serves to merely harass or maliciously injure another, to refrain from disregarding a ruling made in the course of a proceeding and to refrain from intentionally or habitually violating any established rule of procedure or evidence.

On December 8, 1997, Mr. Crandley appeared before Judge Robert B. Cromwell, Jr. in Virginia Beach Circuit Court representing a defendant in a personal injury case. During jury selection, Mr. Crandley objected to a ruling by Judge Cromwell and repeatedly refused to abide by the ruling. Judge Cromwell held Mr. Crandley in contempt of court and sentenced him to 10 days in jail and a $50 fine; however, Mr. Crandley then asked for and received permission to purge himself of the contempt, and eventually did so. The trial of the case then proceeded, but a mistrial was later declared for reasons other than Mr. Crandley's conduct.

The Terms require Mr. Crandley to continue counseling, to avoid being held in contempt of court and to not engage in any conduct arising out of an appearance before any tribunal which is subsequently determined to be a violation of a Rule of Professional Conduct for a five year period from the date of the Subcommittee Determination.

 

 

August 2, 2000

John Max Barger, Davis & Brynteson, P.C., Suite 400, One Greenbrier Pt., 1401 Greenbrier Parkway, Chesapeake, Virginia 23320

VSB Docket No. 99-010-1627

John Max Barger came before a panel of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board on July 28, 2000, on charges that he had violated DR 1-102(A)(3) and (4) in connection with the execution of a trust agreement by a power of attorney after the death of the grantor. The Board sustained the respondent's motion to strike on the basis that the Bar failed to prove a prima facie case of deliberately wrongful misconduct, deceit and misrepresentation.



August 2, 2000

Thomas Eugene Burks, Courthouse Square, Suite 208, 9300 Peabody Street, Manassas, Virginia 20110-2538

VSB Docket Nos. 00-053-3085, 00-053-3086, 01-053-0003

The matters of Thomas Eugene Burks, VSB Docket Nos. 00-053-3085, 00-053-3086, and 01-053-0003 came before a duly convened panel of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board on July 28, 2000.

The Board has found from the evidence presented that Mr. Burks' violated several Disciplinary Rules, including DR 1-102(A)(3) and (4); DR 6-101(C) and (D); DR 9-102((A)(1) and (2) and (B)(1), (2), (3) and (4); and Rule 1.4 (a),(b) and (c); Rule 1.15 (a)(1),(2) and (c)(1),(2),(3) and (4); Rule 8.4 (b)(c).

The above violations involve embezzlement of client funds, keeping clients reasonably informed, preserving the identity of client funds and proper trust accounting, and conduct involving deliberately wrongful acts, dishonesty, and deceit. Based upon the uncontroverted evidence, over $100,000 in various clients' funds are missing and unaccounted for as a result of Mr. Burks' violations, the Disciplinary Board revoked Mr. Burks' license to practice law within the Commonwealth of Virginia effective July 28, 2000.



August 2, 2000

John A. Field, III, Suite 304, 1483 Chain Bridge Road, McLean, Virginia 22010

VSB Docket No. 00-000-3226

The matter of John A. Field, III, VSB Docket No. 00-000-3226 came before a duly convened panel of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board on July 28, 2000.

The Board has found from the evidence presented that Mr. Field pled guilty and was convicted by the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire of two felonies: engaging in a pattern of racketeering in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 1962(c) (Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations [RICO]) and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 1957. Based upon these findings, the Disciplinary Board revoked Mr. Field's license to practice law within the Commonwealth of Virginia effective July 28, 2000.


August 2, 2000

Francisco Alberto Laguna, 2401 East Elm Street, P.O. Box 40397, Tucson, AZ 85719

VSB Docket No. 00-000-3230

Francisco Alberto Laguna petitioned the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board to surrender his license to practice law in Virginia with disciplinary charges pending on July 26, 2000. The board accepted the petition and revoked his license on July 26, 2000. Summaries of the charges will be forwarded to the Virginia Supreme Court.



August 2, 2000

George Levin Smith, Jr., 135 King's Way Mall, P.O. Box 160, Hampton, Virginia 23669-0160

VSB Docket Nos. 98-010-1126, 00-010-0119, 00-010-0369, 00-010-1080, 00-010-1298
00-010-2104 and 00-010-2148

George Levin Smith, Jr., petitioned the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board to surrender his license to practice law in Virginia with disciplinary charges pending on June 28, 2000. The board accepted the petition and revoked his license on June 28, 2000. Summaries of the charges will be forwarded to the Virginia Supreme Court.



August 2, 2000

Bradley Coblentz Snowden, 1164 Winchester Avenue, Martinsburg, West Virginia 25402

VSB Docket No. 00-000-3280

Bradley Coblentz Snowden's license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia was suspended with terms for three (3) months to run concurrently with the discipline imposed by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia on June 15, 2000. This reciprocal discipline was imposed based on an order of suspension imposed by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia in a proceeding styled Lawyer Disciplinary Board vs. Bradley C. Snowden, etc. on April 19, 2000.

 

July 18, 2000

Karen Marie Asprinio, 22 Mason Street, West Warwick, RI 02893

VSB Docket No. 00-051-1129

On June 23, 2000, pursuant to an Agreed Disposition, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board issued a Public Reprimand to Karen Marie Asprinio for violations of DR1-102(A)(3)and (4), DR 2-108 (D), DR 6-101(A)(B)(C) and (D), and DR 9-102(A)(1)and (2).

The Complainant hired Ms. Asprinio to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in the United States Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Virginia, and paid Ms. Asprinio a flat fee, including costs. The Complainant also asked Ms. Asprinio to reaffirm the Complainant's car loan. Ms. Asprinio did file the petition, but failed to appear for the creditor's hearing or reaffirm the Complainant's car loan.

Shortly after agreeing to represent the Complainant, Ms. Asprinio moved to Rhode Island and failed to so inform the Complainant. Approximately a week before the creditor's meeting, the Complainant received a letter from Ms. Asprinio stating she had moved and would not be present for the hearing, but that another attorney would be there on the Complainant's behalf. The Complainant appeared for the creditor's hearing with the letter, but no other attorney appeared to assist her. The Complainant was allowed to proceed on her own and did receive a discharge.

Thereafter, the Complainant learned her car loan had not been reaffirmed. The Complainant called the Respondent in Rhode Island and asked Ms. Asprinio to fix the problem. Ms. Asprinio agreed to move the court to reopen the matter. Ms. Asprinio did file a motion to reopen, which was denied because Ms. Asprinio failed to pay the requisite filing fee. Prior to this date, the court had stopped accepting checks from Ms. Asprinio because of the number of "insufficient funds" checks she had presented to the court. The Complainant's car was repossessed.

The Complainant hired new counsel who corrected the problem with the Complainant's car. The Complainant attempted to get a refund of the fees and costs she had paid Ms. Asprinio, but was only able to get a refund after filing complaints with the Virginia and Rhode Island Bars.

July 18, 2000

James Dudley Young, 4031 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, Virginia 22030

VSB Docket No. 98-053-2308

By ordered entered June 29, 2000, pursuant to an Agreed Disposition, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board issued a Public Reprimand to James Dudley Young for violations of DR 6-101(B) and DR 7-101(A)(1) and (2).

Mr. Young was retained to represent Eugene Harold Westbrook on a charge of rape. During the first day of the trial, Mr. Westbrook became concerned about Mr. Young's representation and attitude. During a recess, Mr. Westbrook asked to speak with the judge, but was not allowed to do so. After the recess, Mr. Young moved the court to be allowed to withdraw as Mr. Westbrook's counsel, but the judge denied his motion.

Thereafter, Mr. Young failed to cross-examine the alleged victim and the Commonwealth's next two witnesses, and renewed his motion to withdraw. The judge became concerned, and after the evening recess, called a member of the Public Defender's Office and asked her to mediate between Mr. Young and Mr. Westbrook. The next morning, Mr. Young renewed his motion to withdraw, and Mr. Westbrook asked that the motion be granted and a mistrial be declared. During argument on the motions, an investigator hired by Mr. Young testified he heard Mr. Young state to Mr. Westbrook that he would sit at the defense table but would " not do a damn thing." The motions were granted.

After the motion was granted, the judge reviewed the court reporter's audio of tape of the trial and discovered that the tape had inadvertently been left on during the recess and recorded a conversation between Mr. Young and Mr. Westbrook in which Mr. Young stated to Mr. Westbrook:

You want another lawyer? You going to get another lawyer? Did you call one? You better go call one, if you want one, because I'm not going to represent you anymore. I'll tell you that. I mean I'll sit here, but I'm not saying a damn thing.

 

July 18, 2000

Thomas Eugene Burks, Courthouse Square, Suite 208, 9300 Peabody Street, Manassas, Virginia 20110-2538

VSB Docket Nos. 00-053-3085, 00-053-3086, 01-053-0003

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended the law license of Mr. Burks by order dated July 13, 2000, upon petition of Bar Counsel, pursuant to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Part 6, Section IV, Para. 13(C)(5)(i).

On May 19, 2000, a receiver was appointed by the Circuit Court of Prince William County, Virginia, for Mr. Burks' law practice at the request of the Virginia State Bar. After the appointment of the receiver, the receiver and the Bar began reviewing Mr. Burks' open files and trust account records and spoke with a number of Mr. Burks' clients. From the records reviewed and the interviews conducted to date, it appears that Mr. Burks settled at least one personal injury case without so informing his client and stole the client's portion of the settlement, which was in excess of $50,000.00. In other cases, Mr. Burks appears to have settled cases, and failed to pay the medical providers as indicated on the settlement disbursement sheets and taken that money for his own personal use. The review of cases has not been completed.

A hearing will be held on July 28, 2000, before the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board to show cause why Mr. Burks' license should not be further suspended or revoked.

 

July 10, 2000*

Darwyn H. Lesh, 2418 South Bay Street, Georgetown, SC 29440

VSB Docket No. 00-000-3182

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended the law license of Mr. Lesh by order dated June 29, 2000. Mr. Lesh pled guilty in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria Division) to one count of attempting to evade payment of federal taxes to the IRS for the tax years 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992 and 1993, in violation of 26 U.S.C. Section 7201, Criminal No. 99-CR-00439-001. By Order entered May 19, 2000, the court sentenced Darwyn H. Lesh to five (5) months in federal prison, and five months of Home Confinement with electronic monitoring and three years of supervised release, plus restitution in the amount of $341,700.55. A hearing will be held before the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board on July 28, 2000, to show cause why Mr. Lesh's license should not be further suspended or revoked. The summary suspension order was entered pursuant to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13 (E).

*On July 28, 2000, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board granted a continuance until
August 25, 2000. Mr. Lesh's license remains suspended until further order of the board.

July 10, 2000

Bradley Coblentz Snowden, 1164 Winchester Avenue, Martinsburg, West Virginia 25402

VSB Docket No. 00-000-3280

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended the law license of Mr. Snowden by order dated June 29, 2000. Mr. Snowden has been suspended for three (3) months with terms from the practice of law by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia effective June 15, 2000, in Case No. 24229. A hearing will be held before the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board on July 28, 2000, to show cause why Mr. Snowden's license should not be further suspended or revoked. The summary suspension order was entered pursuant to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13 (G).

July 10, 2000

John A. Field, III, Suite 304, 1483 Chain Bridge Road, McLean, Virginia 22010

VSB Docket No. 00-000-3226

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended the law license of Mr. Field by order dated June 29, 2000. Mr. Field pled guilty in the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire to (1) engaging in a pattern of racketeering in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 1962(c) (Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations [RICO]) and (2) engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 1957, Criminal No. 98-165-01-JD. A hearing will be held before the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board on July 28, 2000, to show cause why Mr. Field's license should not be further suspended or revoked. The summary suspension order was entered pursuant to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13 (E).


July 10, 2000

Janice McPherson Doxey, 1600 First Virginia Bank Tower, 555 Main Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510

VSB Docket No. 00-021-1451

Janice McPherson Doxey petitioned the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board to surrender his license to practice law in Virginia with disciplinary charges pending on July 7, 2000. The board accepted the petition and revoked his license on July 7, 2000. Summaries of the charges will be forwarded to the Virginia Supreme Court.

July 10, 2000

Francisco Alberto Laguna, 2401 East Elm Street, P.O. Box 40397, Tucson, AZ 85719

VSB Docket No. 00-000-3230

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board summarily suspended the law license of Mr. Laguna by order dated June 29, 2000. Mr. Laguna pled guilty in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida to (1) Conspiracy to Import Cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. Section 952(a) and (2) Obstruction of Justice, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 1503, Criminal No. 93-CR-00470-001. By Order entered July 12, 1999, the court sentenced Francisco Alberto Laguna to a prison term of 53 months, with immediate release and the balance of the sentence to be served as home confinement, with a three (3) year period of supervised release. A hearing will be held before the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board on July 28, 2000, to show cause why Mr. Laguna's license should not be further suspended or revoked. The summary suspension order was entered pursuant to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13 (E).

Disciplinary Actions January 2000 - June 2000

Disciplinary Actions July 1999 - December 1999

Disciplinary Actions January 22, 1999 - June 1999