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Laws In Texas

The June 2019 Texas Discipline Listing is a Selection of 28 Lawyers and Judges Who Were Hand Picked by the State Bar of Texas for Censure

A partially probated suspension is a combination of an active suspension (can’t practice law) followed by a period of probated suspension (can practice with restrictions). A fully probated suspension allows the attorney to practice law with restrictions.

28 Texas Lawyers & Judges Disciplined on June List

Disciplinary Actions — June 2019 State Bar lists (listing from the State Bar of Texas)

NOTE: A partially probated suspension is a combination of an active suspension (can’t practice law) followed by a period of probated suspension (can practice with restrictions). A fully probated suspension allows the attorney to practice law with restrictions.

Houston area

BODA


On April 16, 2019, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals signed a judgment of suspension against Pearland attorney Juan R. Rodriguez [#24055914], 41. On November 28, 2018, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to theft of property greater than $100 and less than $750, an intentional crime as defined in the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, in the case styled The State of Texas v. Juan Rodriguez, Cause No. 234991 in the County Court at Law No. 1 in Brazoria County, Texas. By an order of deferred adjudication, the court placed him on community supervision for 12 months. He was ordered to pay restitution of $682.23 and a fine of $400. Rodriguez is suspended from the practice of law in the state of Texas for the term of his community supervision. BODA Cause No. 61642.

 

SUSPENSION


On March 7, 2019, Larrisha Charlie Vaughn Jackson [#24073658], 31, of Houston, accepted a three-year fully probated suspension effective April 1, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that in one matter, Jackson neglected the legal matter entrusted to her and failed to surrender papers and property to which her client was entitled. In a second matter, Jackson failed to keep funds belonging in part to her client in a separate trust account and failed to promptly deliver to third persons funds that the third persons were entitled to receive. Jackson violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.14(a), 1.14(b), and 1.15(d). She was ordered to pay $2,860.50 in restitution and $1,928.29 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

 

On April 2, 2019, Tanika J. Solomon [#24057713], 47, of Houston, accepted a six-month fully probated suspension effective April 1, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that in one matter, Solomon failed to promptly deliver to her client’s medical providers funds that they were entitled to receive and failed to promptly render a full accounting regarding such funds. In three other matters, Solomon failed to keep her clients reasonably informed about the status of their legal matters and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information. Solomon violated Rules 1.03(a) and 1.14(b). She was ordered to pay $1,400 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

 

On April 5, 2019, Marcus Raymond Spagnoletti [#24076708], 34, of Houston, accepted a two-year fully probated suspension effective May 1, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that in representing his clients, Spagnoletti neglected the legal matters entrusted to him, frequently failed to carry out completely the obligations Spagnoletti owed to his clients, and failed to keep his clients reasonably informed about the status of their cases and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information. Spagnoletti violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.01(b)(2), and 1.03(a). He was ordered to pay $5,830 in attorneys’ fees.

 

PUBLIC REPRIMANDS

 

On April 16, 2019, Jermaine Savoy Thomas [#24033386], 43, of Houston, accepted an agreed public reprimand. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Thomas neglected the legal matter entrusted to him and frequently failed to carry out completely the obligations he owed to his client. Thomas further failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of the case and failed to promptly comply with his client’s reasonable requests for information. Additionally, Thomas failed to promptly deliver funds that his client’s medical providers were entitled to receive and failed to promptly render a full accounting of the settlement funds upon request. Thomas violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.01(b)(2), 1.03(a), and 1.14(b). He was ordered to pay $500 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

 

 

 

Rest of the state

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

Guilty of Blatantly Promoting Chuck Shultz for Commissioner

On April 3, 2019, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public warning to Rudy Madrid, county judge in Kingsville, Kleberg County.

 

 

Guilty of Posting KKK style comments on Facebook

On April 24, 2019, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public admonition to James Oakley, county judge in Burnet, Burnet County.

 

 

Guilty of Waiving Traffic Fines for Friends ‘n Family

On April 26, 2019, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public reprimand and order of additional education to Mike Trejo, justice of the peace, precinct 5, place 3 in La Feria, Cameron County.

 

BODA


On April 16, 2019, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals signed a judgment of suspension against Denver, Colorado, attorney Derrick Duane Cornejo [#24048049], 48. On June 26, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court entered an amended order and notice of suspension in a matter styled Complainant: The People of the State of Colorado, respondent: Derrick Duane Cornejo, #29438, Case Number 13PDJ066, and suspended Cornejo from the practice of law for 18 months for his violation of Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct 3.4(c) [knowingly disobey an order of a tribunal], 5.5(a)(1) [practice law without a license], and 8.4(c) [dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation]. BODA Cause No. 61814.

 

 

 

On April 9, 2019, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals signed an order dismissing compulsory discipline against Austin attorney Patrick Lanier [#11933500], 70.

On March 25, 2015, Lanier was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343 and 1349, 13 counts of wire fraud in violation of l8 U.S.C. § 1343, one count of harboring and concealing a person from arrest in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1071, and one count of assisting a federal offender in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 3, intentional crimes as defined in the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, in the case styled United States of America v. Patrick Lanier, Cause No. 4:10CR00258-004, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.

Lanier was sentenced to prison for 204 months on each of the wire fraud counts and 22 months on the remaining counts to run concurrently and ordered to pay restitution of $37,544,944.16.

On January 2, 2018, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated two counts, affirmed the remainder, and remanded it to the trial court for sentencing.

On March 26, 2019, the Supreme Court of Texas accepted Lanier’s resignation in lieu of discipline by Misc. Docket No. 19-9019 and canceled his license to practice law. BODA Cause No. 57700.

Austin attorney Lanier was sentenced in Houston  to 17 years in federal prison for harboring and concealing his client who was a fugitive in Mexico and for conspiring to commit wire fraud in the client’s stock sale scam.

Patrick Lanier represented Harris Dempsey “Butch” Ballow, of Tiki Island, Galveston County, during proceedings before the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2004 and during the criminal case that led to Ballow to flee the country.

Ballow was indicted in 2003 on fraud and money laundering charges stemming from misrepresentations he made in connection with the sale of stock, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A jury convicted Lanier on 16 counts in February 2014 for helping sell shares of stock purchased by Ballow’s corporation while Ballow was on the run. The jury found Lanier guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on the a stock sale scheme, 13 counts of wire fraud, one count of harboring and concealing Ballow from arrest and one count of assisting a federal offender.

Ballow is serving a prison sentence on a 2003 money laundering conviction.

U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal ordered Lanier to pay $37 million to the victims of the stock scheme upon his release.

Rosenthal said before sentencing him she had received dozens on letters of support for Lanier, lauding his long law-abiding career prior to the Ballow ordeal and the years he aided his wife while she was ill and requesting he get a reduced sentence.

The judge also mentioned that the fraudulent stock sales drew in more than 500 buyers including one victim who reported her husband committed suicide due to the impact Ballow’s scam on his livelihood.

“This is one of the cases that will keep a judge awake at night,” she said, acknowledging both the deep support Lanier had from his community and the fact that his involvement in the scheme was “not casual,” saying, “He could have stepped out at any time.”

“When his client became a fugitive, that would have been a good time to stop, if not sooner,” the judge said.

 

 

Ballow was indicted in federal court in Houston in 2003 for fraud and money laundering, based on his misrepresentations about stock sales. He pleaded guilty to money laundering before U.S. District Judge David Hittner that same year and agreed to cooperate with the SEC in its investigation on the condition that he be released on a $100,000 bail pending his sentencing.

According to an FBI statement, on Dec. 16, 2004, the day of his sentencing, Ballow failed to appear in court. It wasn’t until July 13, 2010 that Mexican officials arrested him in the resort city of Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. He was extradited in April 2011. He was sentenced in federal court to 10 years in prison for money laundering and owes his victims $10 million in restitution.

Ballow faces trial before U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein, Jr. on a separate 87-count indictment on 2010 wire fraud and money laundering charges. That trial is on hold while several co-defendants that are detained abroad or fugitives.

Evidence at Lanier’s trial revealed that Ballow had used the pseudonyms John Gel, Tom Brown, and Marty Twinley and gota British passport under the fake name Melvyn John Gelsthorpe. Testimony in the trial convinced jurors that Lanier knew Ballow used these names to run publicly traded corporations, including E-SOL International Corp., Medra Corp., Deep Earth Resources Inc. and Aztec Technology Partners Inc. Lanier knew Ballow sold stock for these companies to investors without revealing his true identity and fugitive status or informing them of his previous convictions for fraud and money laundering.

The jurors also heard testimony that after Ballow became a fugitive, he continued to sell stock from Cancun and other Mexican resort towns. According to witnesses, Lanier traveled to Mexico to provide legal counsel for Ballow under several of his various false names.

In addition to Lanier, a half-dozen co-conspirators faced federal criminal proceedings related to Ballow’s stock sales.

Christopher Harless of Georgetown, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was sentenced in November to 20 years in prison. Sikiru Olubunmi Bonojo  a citizen of Nigeria who lived in Houston, was given a 5-year term for money laundering. James David Wright  of Corinth, and Clarence Hudgens  of Lebanon, Ore., both pleaded guilty to the wire fraud conspiracy.

Ruben Garza Perez formerly of Houston, pleaded guilty to the same charge. Jeffrey Janssen Anuth is in custody in Mexico, while the other alleged co-conspirators are considered fugitives.

On April 16, 2019, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals signed a judgment of suspension against San Antonio attorney Julie Ann Castillo [#24092232], 31. On February 27, 2018, Castillo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to prepare false federal income tax returns in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, an intentional crime as defined in the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, in the case styled United States of America v. Julie Ann Lopez, Aliases: Lopez, Julie; Lopez Julie A.; Castillo, Julie A, Cause No. 5:16-CR-00239-FB(2), U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division. Castillo was placed on probation for five years and ordered to pay restitution of $91,220. Castillo is suspended from the practice of law in the State of Texas for the term of her criminal probation. BODA Cause No. 61643.

 

On April 22, 2019, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals signed a judgment of disbarment against El Paso attorney Marco A. Delgado [#00796001], 52. On or about January 24, 2014, Delgado was convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering, an intentional crime as defined in the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, and sentenced to incarceration for 240 months in United States of America v. Marco Antonio Delgado, Case No. EP-12-CR-2106-DB, in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, El Paso Division. Delgado appealed his criminal conviction. During the pendency of his appeal, on July 30, 2014, the board signed an interlocutory order of suspension. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction and issued its mandate on January 31, 2019. BODA Cause No. 54396.

 

 

On April 30, 2019, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals dismissed for want of jurisdiction the appeal of San Antonio attorney Pascual Madrigal [#12802150], 64, from a judgment of active suspension signed on August 22, 2018, by an evidentiary panel of the District 10 Grievance Committee of the State Bar of Texas in Case Nos. 201700545, 201703331, and 20170431. On March 15, 2019, Madrigal was disbarred by the same evidentiary panel in Case Nos. 201703589 and 201704251. The judgment of disbarment is now final and the Board of Disciplinary Appeals no longer has jurisdiction over this appeal. BODA Cause No. 61008.

 

DISBARMENTS


On March 15, 2019, Pascual Madrigal [#12802150], 64, of San Antonio, was disbarred. An evidentiary panel of the District 10 Grievance Committee found that Madrigal failed to respond to a grievance in a timely manner. Madrigal violated Rule 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $4,910.66 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

 

On February 21, 2019, Samuel Adjei Sarfo [#24071896], 56, of Austin, received a judgment of disbarment. The 201st Civil District Court of Travis County found that Sarfo violated Rule 8.04(a)(7) [a lawyer shall not violate any disciplinary or disability order or judgment] and Rule 8.04(a)(11) [a lawyer shall not engage in the practice of law when the lawyer is on inactive status or when the lawyer’s right to practice has been suspended or terminated].Sarfo was ordered to pay $11,673.59 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses. Sarfo has filed a notice of appeal.

SUSPENSIONS


A second-time offender, on April 16, 2019, Edgardo Rafael Baez [#24048334], 48, of San Antonio, accepted a 28-month fully probated suspensioneffective April 22, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 10 Grievance Committee found that Baez accepted a legal matter beyond his competence, failed to keep his client reasonably informed, and failed to promptly render a full accounting regarding the client’s funds. Baez violated Rules 1.01(a)(1), 1.03(b), and 1.14(b). He was ordered to pay $1,512.50 in restitution and $800 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

 

 

On March 26, 2019, Linda Alice Brandmiller [#24043566], 60, of San Antonio, accepted a two-year fully probated suspension effective June 1, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 12 Grievance Committee found that Brandmiller failed to communicate with clients, failed to maintain clients’ funds in a trust account, and practiced law under an improper trade name. Brandmiller violated Rules 1.03(a), 1.03(b), 1.14(a), 7.01(a), 7.01(f), and 7.02(a)(1). She was ordered to pay $1,000 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

 

On February 25, 2019, Charles Stephen Cantu [#24044911], 41, of Arlington, received a three-year fully probated suspension effective February 14, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 7 Grievance Committee found that Cantu neglected a legal matter entrusted to him, failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of a legal matter, and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information. Upon termination of representation, Cantu failed to take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect his client’s interests and failed to timely furnish a response to the grievance. Cantu violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $7,540 in restitution, $2,351 in attorneys’ fees, and $687 in direct expenses.

 

 

On April 11, 2019, Brian Anthony Hamner [#24041050], 43, of San Antonio, agreed to a four-year fully probated suspension effective March 27, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 10 Grievance Committee found that Hamner violated the terms of a prior disciplinary judgment. Hamner violated Rules 8.04(a)(7) and 8.04(a)(10). He was ordered to pay $800 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

When Your Rap Sheet is Longer than Your Clients

A second-time offender, on March 25, 2019, Dallas E. McKibben [#24028450], 42, of Amarillo, received a nine-month fully probated suspension effective March 15, 2019. An investigatory panel of the District 13 Grievance Committee found that in September 2017, McKibben was appointed to represent the complainant in a criminal matter. During McKibben’s representation of the complainant, McKibben failed to keep the complainant reasonably informed about the status of his criminal matter and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information from the complainant about his criminal matter. McKibben violated Rule 1.03(a). He was ordered to pay $675 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On April 24, 2019, Selvino Padilla Jr. [#15406250], 64, of McAllen, accepted an 18-month fully probated suspension effective May 1, 2019. The 93rd District Court of Hidalgo County found that Padilla violated Rule 5.03(a) [a lawyer having direct supervisory authority over the non-lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the person’s conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer]. Padilla was ordered to pay $10,000 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

A second-time offender, on February 4, 2019, Andrew David Vaughn [#24056764], 38, of Canton, received a two-year fully probated suspension effective February 1, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 1 Grievance Committee found that Vaughn neglected a legal matter entrusted to him by failing to perform legal services. Vaughn violated Rule 1.01(b)(1). He was ordered to pay $2,400 in attorneys’ fees and $542.50 in direct expenses.

 

 

On February 25, 2019, Jack Lee McGinnis II [#13630990], 53, of Boerne, received a 10-year partially probated suspension effective February 20, 2019, with the first two years actively served and the remainder probated. An evidentiary panel of the District 15 Grievance Committee found that McGinnis en-gaged in the practice of law while his law license was suspendedand failed to respond to the grievance. McGinnis violated Rules 8.04(a)(8) and 8.04(a)(11). He was ordered to pay $705 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On April 11, 2019, Charsalynn GerSan Mitchell [#24067771], 39, of Dallas, agreed to a 12-month partially probated suspension effective May 1, 2019, with the first month actively served and the remainder probated. An evidentiary panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that beginning in 2015, Mitchell, while employed as an attorney with Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, orLANWT, engaged in outside employment without disclosing such employment to LANWT and without LANWT’s required approval. Furthermore, Mitchell used and/or charged LANWT’s credit card and/or e-filing account multiple times, without LANWT’s knowledge, consent, or authorization, for filing fees associated with Mitchell’s private clients who were not clients of LANWT. Additionally in November 2016, Mitchell misrepresented to a LANWT’s client that the client owed money to LANWT for reimbursement of a social study fee. Mitchell obtained a money order from the client and cashed it in Mitchell’s name. Mitchell violated Rules 1.14(a) and 8.04(a)(3). She was ordered to pay $1,200 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On April 16, 2019, Julie Lynn Bulthuis Krenek [#24065574], 50, of Frisco, agreed to a 12-month active suspension effective August 15, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 1 Grievance Committee found that Krenek failed to keep the complainant reasonably informed about the status of her legal matter and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information. Krenek 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 did not in good faith timely assert a privilege or other legal ground for failure to do so. Krenek violated Rules 1.03(a) and 8.04(a)(8). She was ordered to pay $500 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

This is the second discipline on record per State Bar of Texas – you can read the the first order of discipline here and which is also available on her personal profile at the State Bar of Texas website.

PUBLIC REPRIMANDS


On March 25, 2019, Loren Craig Green [#24029179], 53, of Arlington, agreed to a public reprimand. An evidentiary panel of the District 7 Grievance Committee found that Green had direct supervisory authority over a non-lawyer and failed to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the non-lawyer’s conduct was compatible with the professional obligations of Green. Green shared fees with a non-lawyer. Green paid a person not licensed to practice law for referring clients or prospective clients to Green. The fees paid were not for advertising or public relation services rendered in accordance with Rule 7.03. The fees paid were not the usual charges of a lawyer referral service that meets the requirements of Occupational Code, Title 5, Subtitle B, Chapter 952.Green violated Rules 5.03(a), 5.04(a), and 7.03(b). He was ordered to pay $1,200 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

 

 

 

On April 22, 2019, William Albert Pigg [#24057009], 60, of Dallas, entered into an agreed judgment of public reprimand. An investigatory panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that Pigg, upon termination of representation, failed to take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect his client’s interests. Pigg illegally shared legal fees with a non-lawyer and assisted a person who is not a member of the bar in the performance of activity that constitutes the unauthorized practice of law. Pigg is also subject to discipline based upon the conduct of a non-lawyer employee.Pigg violated Rules 1.15(d), 5.03(b)(1), 5.04(a), and 5.05(b). He was ordered to pay $2,500 in restitution and $1,000 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

 

 

On April 29, 2019, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals signed a judgment of indefinite disability suspension of Dallas attorney Kasey Cathryn Krummel [#24097957], 32. BODA Cause No. 60731. 

 

 

Non-Transparent Disciplinary Action includes; Attorney Richard Clement Dunn (Private Reprimand)

A Texas Attorney v. Comm’n for Lawyer Discipline

On May 10, 2019, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals signed an Agreed Judgment of Private Reprimand against a Texas attorney RICHARD CLEMENT DUNN after the parties filed a Joint Motion to Vacate Judgment (of fully probated suspension) signed by the Evidentiary Panel 2-1 of the District 2 grievance Committee of the State Bar of Texas on November 15, 2018. BODA case no. 61384.

 

 

Link to Complaint

Link to Order of Private Reprimand

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