Editors Choice

Naughty in Nov. 2020: Fifteen Texas Lawyers and Judges Behavin’ Badly and the Five You’ll Never Know About. It’s a Secret.

Texas Lawyers and Judges Behavin’ Badly in November 2020’s Texas Bar Journal Listing.

LIT COMMENTARY

Published; Dec 28, 2020

It’s an 8-baller of  judges behavin’ badly in November 2020.

The state bar and commission has an extensive vocabulary from admonished to reprimand to warning. Basically what we call a ‘slap’- which in effect is no discipline of value.

The majority of the remaining lawyers are at the thievin’ game or generally being naughty.

Disciplinary Actions — July/August 2020 State Bar lists ( from the State Bar of Texas)
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

JUDICIAL ACTION
On September 8, 2020, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public admonition and order of additional education to Lee Harper Wilson, judge of Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 10, Houston, Harris County. He has filed an appeal of the final sanction.

SUSPENSION
On September 16, 2020, Sarah Sue Doezema [#24063259], 39, of Houston, accepted a six-month fully probated suspension effective October 1, 2020.

An investigatory panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Doezema neglected the legal matter entrusted to her and failed to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit her client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.

Doezema violated Rules 1.01(b)(1) and 1.03(b). She was ordered to pay $1,000 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

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Rest of the state

JUDICIAL ACTIONS

On August 12, 2020, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public admonition and order of additional education to Wayne A. Christian, judge of County Court at Law No. 6, San Antonio, Bexar County.

On August 12, 2020, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public admonition and order of additional education to Sara Jane Del Carmen, municipal judge of Colleyville and Keller, Tarrant County.

On August 12, 2020, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public admonition and order of additional education to Paul Foley, justice of the peace, Precinct 1, Place 1, Emory, Rains County.

On August 12, 2020, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public reprimand to Jeanine Howard, judge of Criminal District Court No. 6, Dallas, Dallas County.

On August 12, 2020, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public warning and order of additional education to Sandra Plaster, justice of the peace, Precinct 2, Canton, Van Zandt County.

On September 8, 2020, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public admonition to Jose “Joey” Contreras, former judge of the 187th Criminal District Court, San Antonio, Bexar County. He has filed an appeal of the final sanction.

On September 8, 2020, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public reprimand to Billy Williams, justice of the peace, Precinct 3, San Augustine, San Augustine County.

DISBARMENT
On September 15, 2020, Cynthia Gail Brown [#24026968], 56, of Palm Coast, Florida, received a judgment of disbarment related to three disciplinary cases.

An evidentiary panel of the District 8 Grievance Committee found that in the first case, Brown was hired by a client, on or about June 28, 2016, to represent her in a modification of her child custody orders.

The client paid Brown an advanced fee of $1,600 for the representation. On September 19, 2016, Brown was administratively suspended from the practice of law. Between June and September 2016, Brown filed no pleadings on the client’s behalf to initiate the modification. Further, Brown failed to notify the client of her suspension and ceased all communication with the client after a couple of months.

When the client discovered that Brown had been suspended and abandoned her law practice, she requested a refund. Brown failed to respond to the request and did not refund any unearned fees.

In a second case, Brown was hired by a client in January 2016 to represent her in a stepparent adoption. The client paid Brown an advanced fee of $3,900 for legal fees, filing fees, and a home study.

Although Brown obtained the biological mother’s written relinquishment of parental rights and moved the case from McLennan to Bell County, she failed to complete or file any other pleadings on the client’s behalf.

Brown was administratively suspended from the practice of law on September 19, 2016.

However, Brown did not file a motion to withdraw in the pending case. Further, when the client contacted Brown to determine the status of the matter, Brown informed the client that they were “just waiting on a court date,” and did not inform the client of her suspension.

In September 2016, Brown abandoned her law practice without notice to the client and failed to return the client’s file or refund any unearned fees.

In a third case, Brown was paid $1,200 on or about August 2, 2016, to represent a client in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship. On September 19, 2016, Brown was administratively suspended from the practice of law.

After her suspension, Brown continued the representation and corresponded with the client regarding responses to discovery requests and the possibility of filing a motion to dismiss. Brown failed to notify the client of her suspension, failed to return the client’s file, and failed to return any unearned portion of the $1,200. The client learned of Brown’s suspension in October 2016 and attempted to negotiate a return of unearned fees but Brown failed to respond to the client’s texts and emails.

Brown violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), 8.04(a)(3), and 8.04(a)(11) of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, Article X, Section 9, State Bar Rules. Brown was ordered to pay $5,498 in restitution and $3,700.30 in attorneys’ fees and expenses.

SUSPENSIONS
On September 10, 2020, Tyler Kline Berger [#24082223], 32, of Dallas, agreed to a 24-month fully probated suspension effective September 1, 2020.

The District 6 Grievance Committee found that Berger was a salaried associate of Fears & Nachawati Law Firm and had a LegalZoom profile identifying Berger as such.

Berger has the LegalZoom profile because of her association with the firm. Part of Berger’s employment duties at the firm were to provide telephone consultations to LegalZoom referrals with the ultimate goal being that the referrals would hire the firm for representation. Instead of signing some of the referrals up as clients of the firm, and unbeknownst to the firm, Berger instructed the referrals to send payment for legal services to her personal law firm bank account.

Berger corresponded with these clients from her firm email and telephone number even though she had directed the clients’ funds to her personal law firm bank account.

Berger failed to promptly deliver funds to the firm that the firm was entitled to receive. Berger made false or misleading communications to potential clients about Berger’s services. Berger engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. Berger violated Rules 1.14(b), 7.02(a)(1), and 8.04(a)(3). She was ordered to pay $700 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

STEALING REFERRAL CASH FROM YOUR EMPLOYER

A Video Series Showing 5 Outlaws in Black Robes and Still the Crimes These Judges Commit Are Above the Law

If citizens accept this illegal behavior by judges on the bench then change will not happen and your civil rights will be forever impacted.

Boards! … and Commissions

Austin’s Traditions of Citizen Service Are in the Spotlight

Darwin McKee, Chair, Water and Wastewater Commission

Last appointed by Council Member Danny Thomas; member since 1992

In real life: Lawyer, former Travis Co. Commissioner

Originally Published: May 18, 2001 | Republished by LIT: Dec. 30, 2020

The Water and Wastewater Commission was formed by the City Council to provide citizen input into the operation of the Water and Wastewater Utility and to provide advice on how to maintain and improve the city’s drinking water supply. Over the years the council has also requested the commission’s advice on other issues, such as service extension requests and the cost of service to customers.

Overall, despite some negative publicity a few years ago, the commission has functioned quite well. We have had, and continue to have, the active participation of all the members of the commission. We have given our advice on a wide range of issues affecting the water quality of the city, the operation of the utility, planning for the future water and wastewater needs of the city, the viability of the city’s Historically Underutilized Business program, and many other issues. I have found the City Council quite receptive to our input.

The proof of that comes when our recommendation is different from the recommendation of the staff. Invariably, the council will ensure that the concerns we express are addressed. Fortunately, because of our good working relationship with water and wastewater staff, such situations do not arise very often, because over time, the staff has learned to anticipate the questions and concerns of the various commissioners.

Credit: Austin Chron.

On September 24, 2020, Darwin McKee [#13695700], 69, of Austin, accepted a one-year partially probated suspension [two months active and 10 months probated] effective November 1, 2020. An evidentiary panel of the District 9 Grievance Committee found that McKee failed to appear at a hearing while representing a client in a breach of contract case.

The panel also found that after the client appealed the case, McKee failed to meet appellate deadlines, notify the appellate court of his subsequent termination, and/or withdraw from the case.

McKee violated Rules 1.01(b)(1) and 1.15(a)(3). He was ordered to pay $875 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

DARWIN'S DATES ARE STOOD UP

 

On September 25, 2020, Raymond Rincon [#16933500], 65, of Dallas, agreed to a three-year partially probated suspension effective October 15, 2020, with the first three months actively served and the remainder probated.

An investigatory panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that on September 8, 2017, the client’s mother hired Rincon to represent her son in a habeas corpus appeal. In representing the client, Rincon neglected the legal matter entrusted to him and frequently failed to carry out completely the obligations Rincon owed to his client by incorrectly filing a writ petition twice and failing to submit a correct writ for several months. Rincon failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of his case and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information from his client. Rincon failed to explain the client’s legal matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit his client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.

Rincon failed to obtain written consent from his client regarding the division or arrangement for division of a fee between Rincon and another attorney not in the same firm as Rincon.

Rincon failed to take reasonable remedial action to avoid or mitigate the consequences of the other lawyer’s violation of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. Rincon violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.01(b)(2), 1.03(a), 1.03(b), 1.04(f)(2), and 5.01(b). He was ordered to pay $500 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

portley200c.fw

KIRBY'S A KEEPER

Kirby’s on our October list, care of BODA Texas.

On August 31, 2020, Kirby Jerome Portley [#24085865], 36, of Austin, accepted a one-year active suspension effective September 1, 2020. An evidentiary panel of the District 9 Grievance Committee found that the complainant hired Portley, on or about May 10, 2017, to enforce an order in her divorce decree.

The complainant paid Portley an advanced fee of $5,000 in cash, which Portley failed to deposit into a trust or escrow account.

Portley filed a notice of appearance in the case but filed no other pleading. In addition, the complainant attempted numerous times to contact Portley regarding the status of her case. The only time Portley spoke with the complainant after he was hired, he told the complainant the judge had given permission to enforce the order. However, Portley filed no pleadings or enforcement motions with the court. The complainant terminated the representation and requested that Portley return unearned fees, but Portley failed to respond or comply with the request.

On or about November 28, 2018, after receiving notice of the complaint and filing a response, Portley provided a full refund to the complainant.

At that time, Portley represented that he would withdraw from the case but failed to do so. Portley violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.14(a), 1.14(b), and 1.15(d) of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, Article X, Section 9, State Bar Rules. Portley was ordered to pay $500 in attorneys’ fees and expenses

PUBLIC REPRIMAND

On September 17, 2020, Hugo Vasquez Aguilar [#24006740], 51, of Dallas, agreed to a public reprimand.

Hugo_Aguilar-tx.fw

The District 6 Grievance Committee found that in December 2016, Aguilar was appointed to represent the complainant in a criminal matter. After the complainant’s multiple requests to Aguilar for copies of his file, Aguilar ultimately sent the complainant a copy of the entire file, including discovery.

Aguilar violated a law in this state relating to the professional conduct of lawyers and to the practice of law, specifically Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 39.14. Aguilar violated Rule 8.04(a)(12). He was ordered to pay $250 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

Dallas Lawyer Ray Jackson is All Jacked Up on Dope Money Laundering Charges

As alleged, Mr. Ray Jackson used his law degree not in the furtherance of justice, but to line his own pockets, a true travesty of the law.

Unauthorized Practice of Law by Texas Lawyer Sarfo and Which Resulted in Disbarment is Affirmed on Appeal

Sarfo admitted that he practiced law during the suspension period, including during the active suspension period, and the evidence showed that Sarfo did not comply with any of the terms and conditions of the judgment of suspension.

There’s No Bars for Thievin’ Lawyers Says Texas Bar. Y’all Rogue Texas Lawyers Keep Stealin’ Time and Time Again with Impunity

Or should the title say…with Immunity… That’s Texas Law for Bandit Texas Lawyers. See the Proof in LIT’s analysis of March 2021’s Texas Bar List of ‘Disciplined’ Texas Lawyers.

Naughty in Nov. 2020: Fifteen Texas Lawyers and Judges Behavin’ Badly and the Five You’ll Never Know About. It’s a Secret.
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