E.D. Tex.

23 Rogue Texas Lawyers and Judges in the May Day List. And That Includes One that Was Disbarred – But Wasn’t.

There’s 15 Publicly Texas Lawyers & Judges Disciplined on May 2020 Rogues List and then there’s the 8 Texas Attorney’s that You’ll Never Know About, It’s a Secret.

LIT COMMENTARY

Disciplinary Actions — May 2020 State Bar list

General questions regarding attorney discipline should be directed to the Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s Office, toll-free (877) 953-5535 or (512) 453-5535.

The Board of Disciplinary Appeals may be reached at (512) 475-1578. Information and copies of actual orders are available at www.txboda.org. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct may be contacted toll-free, (877) 228-5750 or (512) 463-5533.

Please note that persons disciplined by the Commission on Judicial Conduct are not necessarily licensed attorneys.

Houston area

SUSPENSIONS

On March 13, 2020, ROCHELLE DIANNE DAVIS [#24099669], 30, of Houston, received a one-year fully probated suspension effective May 1, 2020, through April 30, 2021.

An investigatory panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Davis neglected a legal matter entrusted to her, failed to keep her client reasonably informed about the status of the client’s legal matter, and failed to promptly comply with her reasonable requests for information about the case.

Davis also failed to withdraw from representing her client when Davis’ physical or mental condition materially impaired her fitness to represent her client, and upon termination of representation, Davis failed to refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned.

Davis violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(a)(2), and 1.15(d).

She was ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution.

On March 13, 2020, Rochelle Dianne Davis [#24099669], 30, of Houston, received a one-year fully probated suspension effective May 1, 2020, through April 30, 2021. An investigatory panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Davis neglected a legal matter entrusted to her, failed to keep her client reasonably informed about the status of the client’s legal matter, and failed to promptly comply with his reasonable requests for information about the case.

Davis also failed to withdraw from representing her client when Davis’ physical or mental condition materially impaired her fitness to represent her client, and upon termination of representation, Davis failed to refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned. Davis violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(a)(2), and 1.15(d).

She was ordered to pay $3,500 in restitution.

On March 13, 2020, Rochelle Dianne Davis [#24099669], 30, of Houston, received a one-year fully probated suspension effective May 1, 2020, through April 30, 2021.

An investigatory panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Davis neglected a legal matter entrusted to her, failed to keep her client reasonably informed about the status of the client’s legal matter, and failed to promptly comply with her reasonable requests for information about the case.

Davis also failed to withdraw from representing her client when Davis’ physical or mental condition materially impaired her fitness to represent her client, and upon termination of representation, Davis failed to refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned.

Davis violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(a)(2), and 1.15(d).

She was ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution.

No Surprise Here, It's Texas Bar's Jeff Vaden

On March 12, 2020, Paul Steven Jacobs [#10520600], 60, of Houston, accepted a 25-month partially probated suspension effective March 20, 2020, with the first six months actively suspended and the remainder probated.

An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Jacobs twice failed to timely furnish to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Jacobs violated Rule 8.04(a)(8).

He was ordered to pay $2,500 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

Paul Jacobs Rackin' Up the Sanctions

On December 17, 2019, Andrew Christopher Smith [#24063859], 42, of Houston, received a three-year fully probated suspension effective January 1, 2020, and ending on January 1, 2023.

An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Smith failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of the matter and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information from his client.

Smith also failed to timely furnish to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure and engaged in the practice of law when he was on inactive status or when his right to practice had been suspended or terminated.

Smith violated Rules 1.03(a), 8.04(a)(8), and 8.04(a)(11).

Rest of the state

REINSTATEMENT

Joe Valle [#20435450], 62, of Harlingen, filed a petition in the 107th Judicial District Court of Cameron County, Cause No. 2020-DCL-01586 for reinstatement as a member of the State Bar of Texas.

JUDICIAL ACTIONS

To read the entire public sanctions, go to scjc.texas.gov.

On March 18, 2020, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public admonition and order of additional education to Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez, judge of County Court at Law No. 13, San Antonio, Bexar County.

On March 19, 2020, the Special Court of Review issued its opinion on a matter appealed from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct proceedings; Special Court of Review Opinion, Docket No. 19-0005, In Re Inquiry Concerning the Honorable Gena Slaughter.

DISBARMENT

Arturo Guzman has appeared on LIT’s January 2020 List of Texas Legal Rats.

On February 26, 2020, Arturo A. Guzman [#08654525], 56, of San Marcos, was disbarred – BUT NOW HE’S BEEN REACTIVATED [AS AT 31 JAN 2021]?

The District 15 Grievance Committee found that Guzman failed to keep the client reasonably informed, failed to safeguard the client’s funds, and failed to respond to the grievance in a timely manner.

Guzman violated Rules 1.03(a), 1.14(a), 1.14(b), and 8.04(a)(8).

He was ordered to pay $46,097.12 in restitution and $4,738.36 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

Texas Bar Journal Cites Guzman as Disbarred - Not According to His SBOT Profile

Ponce has appeared on LIT’s SuperBowl February 2020 List of Rogue Texas Lawyers which details the case. He’s also appeared in prior lists.

On February 18, 2020, Joe Jesse Ponce III [#24014329], 61, of San Antonio, was disbarred.

The 285th Civil District Court of Bexar County found that Ponce violated Rules 1.03(a) and 1.03(b) [communication with a client], 1.08(b) [business transaction with a client], 1.15(d) [protect client interest upon withdrawal], and 8.04(a)(3) [conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation].

Ponce was order to pay $872.42 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

Robertson has appeared on LIT’s July 2020 List of Rogue Texas Lawyers.

On February 5, 2020, Damon Dean Robertson [#24005285], 45, of Austin, was disbarred by an evidentiary panel of the District 9 Grievance Committee related to two disciplinary matters.

In the first case, the panel found that Robertson was hired to represent a client in a divorce matter. A divorce decree was signed wherein the client was awarded funds from the sale of property as well as from a 401(k). The awarded funds were transferred to Robertson to be held in trust. Robertson failed to deliver the funds to his client, failed to hold the funds separate from his own property, and disbursed funds to persons who were not entitled to receive them.

He further neglected the legal matter, failed to carry out the obligations he owed to his client, committed a criminal act, and engaged in dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

In the second case, Robertson was hired to represent a client in two business litigation matters. The panel found that Robertson neglected these matters by failing to respond to discovery and motions and failing to attend hearings.

Robertson further failed to carry out the obligations owed to his client, failed to communicate with his client, and failed to explain the matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit his client to make informed decisions.

Robertson also failed to file written responses to these two disciplinary matters as directed.

Robertson violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.01(b)(2), 1.03(a), 1.14(a), 1.14(b), 1.14(c), 8.04(a)(2), 8.04(a)(3), and 8.04(a)(8).

He was ordered to pay $55,981.56 in restitution and $4,046.75 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

SUSPENSIONS

On February 26, 2020, Sean Michael Cohen [#24101637], 32, of San Antonio, agreed to a 3 year, partially probated suspension effective March 1, 2020, with the first six months actively served and the remainder probated.

An evidentiary panel of the District 10 Grievance Committee found that Cohen neglected the client’s matters, failed to communicate with clients, and failed to respond to grievances in a timely manner.

Cohen violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), and 8.04(a)(8).

He agreed to pay $800 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On February 12, 2020, Claude Robert Graham [#24064208], 70, of Chesapeake, Virginia, received a one-year partially probated suspension [six months active and six months probated] from an evidentiary panel of the District 9 Grievance Committee.

The panel found that Graham was suspended from the practice of law in the state of Texas, from November 6, 2014, to October 31, 2017, and failed to inform in writing any of his clients, opposing attorneys, and all courts, in which he had pending cases, of his suspension.

As a result, Graham violated the terms of his prior disciplinary judgment of suspension signed on October 24, 2014.

Graham violated Rule 8.04(a)(7) and was ordered to pay $23,662.50 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

Texas Attorney J. Keith Mayo

On March 4, 2020, James Keith Mayo [#00794251], 51, of Tyler, agreed to a 12-month fully probated suspension effective December 1, 2019, and ending on November 30, 2020.

An investigatory panel of the District 2 Grievance Committee found that Mayo was hired by beneficiaries of an estate for representation in a probate matter pending in Madison County.

The matter settled and the proceeds from the settlement were paid to Mayo for distribution to the beneficiaries.

The settlement checks that Mayo issued to beneficiaries from his IOLTA were returned for insufficient funds.

Mayo failed to appropriately safeguard the settlement funds that belonged to the beneficiaries. Mayo failed to promptly deliver to the beneficiaries the settlement funds they were entitled to receive. Mayo also failed to timely furnish a response to the grievance.

Mayo violated Rules 1.14(a), 1.14(d), and 8.04(a)(8).

He was ordered to pay $2,737.16 in restitution and $1,000 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On March 9, 2020, Charles Wesley Skinner [#24068425], 41, of Waxahachie, received a four-month fully probated suspension effective February 15, 2020.

An investigatory panel of the District 7 Grievance Committee found that in or about May 2017, the complainant hired Skinner to probate her deceased father’s estate. Skinner failed to hold the estate funds that were in Skinner’s possession in connection with the representation separate from Skinner’s own property and Skinner failed to keep complete records of the estate’s funds and other estate property.

Skinner failed to promptly deliver to the complainant the estate funds and other estate property that the complainant was entitled to receive. Upon request by the complainant, Skinner failed to promptly render a full accounting regarding such funds and property.

Skinner failed to keep the estate funds separate from his own property until there is an accounting and severance of their interest. Upon termination of representation, Skinner failed to surrender the estate funds and property to which the complainant was entitled to receive.

Skinner violated Rules l.14(a), l.14(b), l.14(c), and l.15(d).

He was ordered to pay $1,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

On March 4, 2020, Marc Elliot Villarreal, [#00791856], 51, of Corpus Christi, agreed to a five-year partially probated suspension effective May 14, 2020, with the first 12 months actively served and the remainder probated.

The 148th District Court of Nueces County found that Villarreal violated Rules 1.14(a) and 1.14(b) [hold funds related to a representation separate from his own property] and [failed to deliver funds to parties entitled to receive the funds promptly].

Villarreal was ordered to pay $14,000 in attorneys’ fees [ repaid in 7 equal instalments of $2,000] and direct expenses.

PUBLIC REPRIMANDS

On March 2, 2020, Oscar L. Cantu Jr. [#03767448], 56, of San Antonio, accepted a public reprimand.

An evidentiary panel of the District 10 Grievance Committee found that his representation of a client against former clients created conflicts of interest.

Cantu violated Rules 1.06(d), 1.07(a)(1), 1.07(b), 1.07(c), 1.09(a)(2), and 1.09(a)(3).

He agreed to pay $1,250 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On March 4, 2020, Richard Abram Roman [#00789595], 56, of El Paso, accepted a public reprimand.

An investigatory panel of the District 17 Grievance Committee found that Roman neglected a client’s matter. Roman violated Rules 1.01(b)(1).

He agreed to pay $375 in restitution and $800 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

Kathleen Kane: From Citizen Kane to KaneVille to Kane Penned in Prison.

Kathleen Kane was sentenced to ten to twenty-three months in prison (plus eight months of probation) for leaking grand-jury secrets and then lying under oath about having done so.

Texas Courts Conclude Unanimously; As a Lyin’ Texas Lawyer Mark A. Cantu is Still Disbarred

Texas supreme court remanded to the 13th COA, to consider Cantus remaining issues. Justice Gina Benavides for the Court affirmed disbarment.

Lyin’ Georgia Lawyer Dipped into Government Cash and Ends Up with a 2 Year Jail Sentence

Carla B. Gaines, an attorney formerly licensed in Georgia, has been sentenced to federal prison for stealing client money and lying about the theft.

23 Rogue Texas Lawyers and Judges in the May Day List. And That Includes One that Was Disbarred – But Wasn’t.
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Laws In Texas is a blog about the Financial Crisis and how the banks and government are colluding against the citizens and homeowners of the State of Texas and relying on a system of #FakeDocs and post-crisis legal precedents, specially created by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to foreclose on homeowners around this great State. We are not lawyers. We do not offer legal advice. We are citizens of the State of Texas who have spent a decade in the court system in Texas and have been party to during this period to the good, the bad and the very ugly.

Donate to LawsInTexas. Make a Difference.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

We keep your data private and share your data only with third parties that make this service possible. See our Privacy Policy for more information.

© 2020-21 LawInTexas com is an online trading name which is wholly owned by Blogger Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) registered in Delaware. | All Rights Reserved.

To Top