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Attorneys

Attorneys – Discipline – Definite Suspension – Asperger’s Syndrome (access required)

In re Longtin While we are sympathetic to respondent’s recent diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome, we must protect the public from lawyers who may lack the present ability to adequately represent their clients in the courts of this state. Respondent’s misconduct warrants suspension from the practice of law for a period of nine months from the date of this opinion, and during the suspension, we direct the appointment of an attorney to protect his clients’ interests.

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Attorneys – Discipline – Disbarment – Failure to Respond (access required)

In re Bagnell Respondent was hired by a client to work on a matter against a financial institution over a disputed debt but later began to ignore all the client’s attempts to contact him and was dismissive when the client tracked him down in person. Where respondent failed to respond to the investigation of the client’s grievance or to this disciplinary action, respondent has effectively admitted the allegations against him. Respondent is disbarred.

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Attorneys – Discipline – Public Reprimand – Notary Public – Witness Signatures – Favorable Affidavits (access required)

In re Robinson The respondent-attorney is also a notary public. As such, she falsely attested that witnesses had signed affidavits, which they had not signed and to which they demanded changes — unfavorable to respondent’s client - before they would sign. We publicly reprimand respondent for her misconduct. She shall pay the costs associated with the investigation and prosecution of this matter.

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Attorneys – Discipline – Definite Suspension – Trust Account – Personal Expenses (access required)

In re Moore While he was suspended from the practice of law, with no steady employment and poor credit history, respondent was unable to open a personal checking account. He used his trust account - in which no client funds were maintained - to pay living expenses, and he bounced a check drawn on the account. Respondent asserts he was desperate to take care of his family when he engaged in this misconduct.

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Attorneys – Discipline – Disbarment – Murder Solicitation – Employee’s Embezzlement (access required)

In re Walker In addition to numerous other disciplinary violations, respondent tried to hire a hit man to murder another S.C. attorney. We accept the Agreement for Discipline by Consent and disbar respondent retroactively to Sept. 18, 2009, the date of his interim suspension. Respondent shall not file a petition for reinstatement until he has fully completed his criminal sentence, fully paid restitution to the parties affected by the misappropriation of funds from his trust accounts, fully reimbursed the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, and satisfied all judgments against him arising from the practice of law. Once he has completed the active term of his prison sentence, respondent shall make arrangements to fully reimburse Office of Disciplinary Counsel and the Commission on Lawyers Conduct for costs incurred in the investigation and prosecution of this matter.

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Attorneys – Constitutional – Takings Clause – Indigent Defense – Fees (access required)

State v. Howard (Ex parte Brown) The Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is implicated when an attorney is appointed by the court to represent an indigent litigant. In such circumstances, the attorney’s services constitute property entitling the attorney to just compensation. We affirm the award of the statutory amount in this case.

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Attorneys – Discipline – Public Reprimand – Real Property Closings – Recordkeeping – Civil Matter Settlement (access required)

In re Griffin Respondent failed to ensure that certain amounts were timely paid out of closing proceeds, he made misrepresentations during an Office of Disciplinary Counsel investigation, he made a veiled threat of reporting unprofessional conduct against opposing counsel to obtain an advantage in a civil matter, and he failed to perform his recordkeeping duties.

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Attorneys – State-Court Suspension – Reciprocal Discipline – Incivility (access required)

In re White Although the line between civility and incivility may not always be clear, in this case it is. The respondent-attorney's letter referred to an employee of the local government with which his client (a church) had a dispute as having "no brains" and questioned whether "he has a soul." The letter also referred to individuals who acted on behalf of the local government as "pagans" and "pigheaded."

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