Matter of Willcher, No. 8-51-77.

Docket NºNo. 8-51-77.
Citation404 A.2d 185
Case DateJuly 19, 1979
CourtCourt of Appeals of Columbia District
404 A.2d 185
In the Matter of Arthur L. WILLCHER, a Member of the Bar of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
No. 8-51-77.
District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
Argued December 13, 1978.
Decided July 19, 1979.

William Taylor, Washington, D. C., with whom Thomas C. Green and Roger D. Kaplan,

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Washington, D. C., were on the brief, for respondent.

Fred Grabowsky, Bar Counsel, Washington, D. C., with whom David Carr, Washington, D. C., was on the brief, for The Board on Professional Responsibility.

Before NEBEKER, MACK and FERREN, Associate Judges.

NEBEKER, Associate Judge:


This disciplinary matter is before the Court on a petition of the Disciplinary Board, now the Board on Professional Responsibility (hereinafter referred to as the Board) recommending that respondent be suspended from the bar for a period of five years commencing on July 27, 1976. The Board further recommends that respondent be reinstated at the expiration of that period "only upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence that his disability has been terminated or is controlled to the extent that he is once again fit to resume the practice of law." We adopt the Board's recommendation as to suspension but modify it as to the effective date and burden of proof for reinstatement. The respondent is presently under suspension based upon the representations in his notice of inability to defend himself filed on July 26, 1977, pursuant to Rule XI § 16(4) of the Rules Governing the Bar of the District of Columbia. Respondent has since asserted that he is now capable of defending himself and has filed a Notice of Withdrawal of his previous Notice of Incapacity to Defend.

On October 8, 1976, a petition instituting formal disciplinary proceedings into eleven matters was filed with the Court pursuant to Rule XI, § 8 (now D.C.App. R. XI, § 7) of the above-mentioned Rules. A hearing committee was selected and hearings were held on November 18 and December 16, 1976. The hearing committee made the following findings which were adopted by the Board. These findings are adopted by the Court.

COUNT I — DOCKET NO. 124-75

Respondent was appointed by the Superior Court to represent Mr. Lee Arrington, who was mistaken for his father and charged with driving while intoxicated. He accepted a $60.00 fee and, thereafter, never took any meaningful action on behalf of his client. We find that respondent neglected the matter entrusted to him in violation of DR 6-101(A)(3). The fee that he obtained for the services he performed is excessive, in violation of DR 2-106. He failed to seek the lawful objectives of his client through reasonably available means in violation of DR 7-101(A)(1), did not carry out the contract of employment that he had entered into for professional services in violation of DR 7-101(A)(3). Further, he failed to respond to inquiries of the Bar Counsel in violation of DR 1-102(A)(5).

COUNT II — DOCKET NO. 163-75

Respondent was appointed by the Superior Court to represent Mr. Charles Patrick Thornton who was charged with forgery and uttering a check for $1270.00. Thornton's mother entrusted respondent with $1270.00 for the specific purpose of making restitution for her son's forgery and uttering. For over thirteen months to and including the date of the first disciplinary hearing he retained the money in his possession, never having placed it in a trust account. Absent Mrs. Thornton's call to the National Savings and Trust Company, respondent's failure to make restitution would not have been discovered.

We find that respondent's failure to make restitution for over thirteen months constitutes neglect of a legal matter entrusted to him in violation of DR 6-101(A)(3). We also find that respondent's retention of funds and his admitted failure to deposit the $1270.00 in a trust account constitutes failure to preserve the identity of funds of a client in his possession in violation of DR 9-102(A).

COUNT III — DOCKET NO. 168-75

Respondent was requested to respond to personally delivered letters from the Bar Counsel with respect to a complaint of Jeanettie Best Coates who alleged that respondent

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failed to take any meaningful action to probate her deceased husband's will. We find that failure to respond constitutes conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of DR 1-102(A)(5).

COUNT IV — DOCKET NO. 185-75

Respondent solicited employment and accepted a fee from Mr. Jay Williams who was confined on a charge of non-support. Respondent was made aware that his client's wife wished to drop the action, and that his client would be released if a release order was submitted to the court. Respondent took no action and Williams was released through the efforts of others.

We find that respondent presented himself to the prisoner and solicited employment in violation of DR 2-103. He failed to seek the lawful objectives of his client in violation of DR 7-101(A)(1), and he failed to carry out the contract of employment in violation of DR 7-101(A)(3). Further, he failed to respond to inquiries of the Bar Counsel in violation of DR 1-102(A)(5).

COUNT V — DOCKET NO. 40-76

Mr. Franklin Delanors Copeland testified that respondent agreed to represent his son in a...

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24 practice notes
  • Practice and procedure: Patent and trademark cases rules of practice; representation of others before Patent and Trademark Office,
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...re Lieber, 442 A.2d 153 (D.C. 1982); In re Whitlock, 441 A.2d 989 (D.C. 1982); In re Russell, 424 A.2d 1087 (D.C. 1980); In re Willcher, 404 A.2d 185 (D.C. 1979). Misconduct also may arise from the failure to abide by agreements made with Bar Counsel. See In re Harmon, M-79-81 (D.C. Dec. 14......
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...re Lieber, 442 A.2d 153 (D.C. 1982); In re Whitlock, 441 A.2d 989 (D.C. 1982); In re Russell, 424 A.2d 1087 (D.C. 1980); In re Willcher, 404 A.2d 185 (D.C. 1979). Misconduct also may arise from the failure to abide by agreements made with Bar Counsel. See In re Harmon, M-79-81 (D.C. Dec. 14......
  • In the Matter of Willcher, No. M-102-81.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • July 2, 1982
    ...recommended that respondent, who was already under a five-year suspension for twelve counts of misconduct, see In re Willcher, D.C.App., 404 A.2d 185 (1979), be suspended for an additional year. Both bar counsel and respondent opposed the sanction recommended by the A hearing was held befor......
  • In re Jones, No. 87-252.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • December 2, 1987
    ...re Lieber, 442 A.2d 153 (D.C. 1982); In re Whitlock, 441 A.2d 989 (D.C. 1982); In re Russell, 424 A.2d 1087 (D.C. 1980); In re Willcher, 404 A.2d 185 (D.C. 1979). But none of the respondents in those cases offered any challenge, constitutional or otherwise, to the use of DR 1-102(A)(5) in t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
22 cases
  • In the Matter of Willcher, No. M-102-81.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • July 2, 1982
    ...recommended that respondent, who was already under a five-year suspension for twelve counts of misconduct, see In re Willcher, D.C.App., 404 A.2d 185 (1979), be suspended for an additional year. Both bar counsel and respondent opposed the sanction recommended by the A hearing was held befor......
  • In re Jones, No. 87-252.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • December 2, 1987
    ...re Lieber, 442 A.2d 153 (D.C. 1982); In re Whitlock, 441 A.2d 989 (D.C. 1982); In re Russell, 424 A.2d 1087 (D.C. 1980); In re Willcher, 404 A.2d 185 (D.C. 1979). But none of the respondents in those cases offered any challenge, constitutional or otherwise, to the use of DR 1-102(A)(5) in t......
  • In re Roundtree, No. M-110-82.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • September 19, 1983
    ...for a year and a day for neglect of a legal matter, deceit, and misrepresentation in a case involving only one client); In re Willcher, 404 A.2d 185 (D.C. 1979) (five-year suspension for eleven counts of misconduct including neglect, failure to seek the lawful objectives of clients, failure......
  • In re Delate, No. 91-519.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • October 8, 1991
    ...In re Haupt, 444 A.2d 317 (D.C.1982); In re Lieber, 442 A.2d 153 (D.C.1982); In re Russell, 424 A.2d 1087 (D.C.1980); In re Willcher, 404 A.2d 185 (D.C.1979). In the instant case, Bar Counsel sent Respondent numerous letters explaining the allegations of misconduct and requesting her respon......
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