McGuinn, Matter of, No. 20877

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
Citation272 S.C. 366,252 S.E.2d 122
PartiesIn the Matter of Jack Francis McGUINN, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 20877
Decision Date07 February 1979

Page 122

252 S.E.2d 122
272 S.C. 366
In the Matter of Jack Francis McGUINN, Respondent.
No. 20877.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Feb. 7, 1979.

Atty. Gen., Daniel R. McLeod, Asst. Atty. Gen., Richard B. Kale, Jr., Kale R. Alexander and David A. Fedor, Columbia, for complainant.

Joseph L. Nettles and John P. Freeman, Columbia, for respondent.

PER CURIAM:

This disciplinary action against respondent McGuinn resulted from his representation of the husband in the protracted divorce litigation of Davis v. Davis. We agree with the Panel and the Executive Committee that respondent is guilty of misconduct, and we adopt the Executive Committee's recommendation of a public reprimand.

The complaint against respondent McGuinn, brought by counsel for Mrs. Davis, alleges he signed his secretary's signature as notary public on two affidavits submitted to Judge Cobb in support of a motion to recuse. Respondent admitted signing his secretary's name, but stated this was a long standing practice in his office. While respondent asserted [272 S.C. 367] his secretary ratified the signatures, she was not called to testify at the hearing.

This Court is shocked by respondent's abuse of the office of notary public. A notary is a public officer, who, by his hand and seal, authenticates certain classes of documents. See Code §§ 26-1-10 et seq. (1976); 66 C.J.S. Notaries § 1, et seq. The credibility of notarized documents is essential to the viability of our legal system.

Mr. McGuinn displayed a callous disrespect for the office by signing his secretary's name to the affidavits. The fact that this fraudulent act was allegedly performed pursuant to office practice is not exculpatory. The forgery of a signature on a court document is a fraud upon the court; we cannot conceive of any justification for such conduct. The affidavits prepared and falsely authenticated by respondent were null and void.

Moreover, the affidavit of Mr. Davis was conceded by respondent to be false and inflammatory. It charges Mrs. Davis' counsel with bragging about "fixing" the trial judge and further asserts the counsel threatened to tear Mr. Davis "limb from limb."

At least four persons testified before the Panel that the remarks attributed to Mrs. Davis' counsel were patently false. Respondent, himself, admitted to overstating the facts in the affidavit, but contended this was due to his haste and his health problems.

This Court is neither unaware of nor unsympathetic to respondent's...

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5 practice notes
  • In re Reback, No. 83-1289.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • July 31, 1986
    ...filed falsely signed documents with a court or other official body. In re Spagnoli, 89 N.J. 128, 445 A.2d 39 (1982); In re McGuinn, 272 S.C. 366, 252 S.E.2d 122 (1979); In re Finley, 261 N.W.2d 841 We view the transgressions of respondents as more serious than those in Spagnoli, McGuinn or ......
  • Jennings, Matter of, No. 24400
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 7, 1996
    ...on a court document is a fraud upon the court; we cannot conceive of any justification for such conduct." In the Matter of McGuinn, 272 S.C. 366, 252 S.E.2d 122 (1979). We find respondent's signing and notarizing Roberts's name was [321 S.C. 447] Candor before the family court Respondent re......
  • Trexler, Matter of, No. 24693
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • August 18, 1997
    ...upon attorneys for submitting affidavits that were false in substance or in the formalities of signing. See In re Jack Francis McGuinn, 272 S.C. 366, 252 S.E.2d 122 (1979) (attorney publicly reprimanded where he signed his secretary's signature as notary public on two affidavits submitted t......
  • Matter of Celsor, No. 24780.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • April 13, 1998
    ...notarizing the signature of clients and failing to act with diligence and promptness in filing a certificate of title. In In re McGuinn, 272 S.C. 366, 252 S.E.2d 122 (1979), we imposed a public reprimand for false notarizations of signatures. A recent increase in the disciplinary actions in......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • In re Reback, No. 83-1289.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • July 31, 1986
    ...filed falsely signed documents with a court or other official body. In re Spagnoli, 89 N.J. 128, 445 A.2d 39 (1982); In re McGuinn, 272 S.C. 366, 252 S.E.2d 122 (1979); In re Finley, 261 N.W.2d 841 We view the transgressions of respondents as more serious than those in Spagnoli, McGuinn or ......
  • Jennings, Matter of, No. 24400
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 7, 1996
    ...on a court document is a fraud upon the court; we cannot conceive of any justification for such conduct." In the Matter of McGuinn, 272 S.C. 366, 252 S.E.2d 122 (1979). We find respondent's signing and notarizing Roberts's name was [321 S.C. 447] Candor before the family court Respondent re......
  • Trexler, Matter of, No. 24693
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • August 18, 1997
    ...upon attorneys for submitting affidavits that were false in substance or in the formalities of signing. See In re Jack Francis McGuinn, 272 S.C. 366, 252 S.E.2d 122 (1979) (attorney publicly reprimanded where he signed his secretary's signature as notary public on two affidavits submitted t......
  • Matter of Celsor, No. 24780.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • April 13, 1998
    ...notarizing the signature of clients and failing to act with diligence and promptness in filing a certificate of title. In In re McGuinn, 272 S.C. 366, 252 S.E.2d 122 (1979), we imposed a public reprimand for false notarizations of signatures. A recent increase in the disciplinary actions in......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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