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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Sep. 18, 200112:00 PM EST

Four local attorneys disciplined

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The Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders suspended 20 attorneys, reprimanded nine others, disbarred four, accepted the resignation of three and placed two on probation, including four locally.

Those disciplined here are:

• Wilene Claudette Dozier, 2421 Grand St., Jacksonville, disbarred from practicing law in Florida, effective retroactive to Jan. 7, 2000, following a June 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1993) Dozier pleaded guilty to a felony, converting property valued in excess of $5,000 to pay for expenses for her personal benefit and for the benefit of others. The funds came from a not-for-profit organization which received federal program benefits.

• David Byron Lee, Jr., 1409 Kingsley Ave., Ste. 1A, Orange Park, resigned in lieu of disciplinary proceedings, with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective immediately following a July 5 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1969) Allegations against Lee include charging an excessive fee, coercing a client to accept a settlement and neglecting a client matter.

• William Samuel McAliley, II, P.O. Box 121, St. Augustine, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 91 days, effective 30 days following a June 28 court order. As a condition of his reinstatement, McAliley must adhere to an evaluation by Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc., an organization that assists attorneys with chemical dependency or psychological problems. If reinstated, he will be placed on probation for three years. (Admitted to practice: 1979) McAliley engaged in the abuse of the judicial process by filing continuous, baseless and vexatious litigation during a dissolution of marriage case in which he was the respondent. He also failed to pay child support in a timely manner.

• Kara Elizabeth Mort, 47 Rohde Ave., St. Augustine, placed on probation for one year, concurrent to the discipline previously imposed in another case, following a July 5 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1989) In a discrimination case, Mort failed to maintain a copy of a contingent fee agreement in writing and to have the contingent fee agreement signed by the client and lawyer.

Court orders are not final until time expires to file a rehearing motion and, if filed, determined. The filing of such a motion does not alter the effective date of the discipline. As an official agency of the Supreme Court of Florida, The Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation are charged with the administration of a statewide disciplinary system to enforce Supreme Court rules of professional conduct of the 69,000-plus lawyers admitted to practicelaw in Florida.

The other lawyers disciplined:

• Hector Alfonso Abelairas, Miami, reprimanded for professional misconduct following a June 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1976) Abelairas failed to comply with rules regulating The Florida Bar regarding advertising. He did not plainly mark each page of written communication with the word “advertisement” and each written communication distributed did not include a written statement of his qualifications.

• Steven Michael Alex, Labelle, suspended automatically from practicing law in Florida, until further court order, effective 30 days following a July 10 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) In March 2001, Alex pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual battery by a person in custodial authority, first degree felonies. He was given a 33-year prison sentence.

• Larry Douglas Barnes, Apopka, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 90 days, effective 30 days following an Aug. 23 court order. (Admitted to practice:1977) While suspended in 1997, Barnes handled several cases and represented himself as a member in good standing of The Florida Bar. He continued to use “Attorney at Law” letterhead in his correspondence despite his ongoing suspension.

• L. Lisa Batts, Stuart, reprimanded for professional misconduct following an Aug. 16 court order. Batts is also placed on probation for three years. (Admitted to practice: 1988) Batts violated several trust account rules.

• Anita Eileen Belle, Gainesville, suspended from practicing law in Florida until she has complied with a subpoena issued by the Eighth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee, following a July 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Belle did not provide trust account records as commanded by a subpoena issued by The Florida Bar and was found in noncompliance on April 23.

• Ann Bitterman, Coconut Grove, reprimanded for professional misconduct following a July 5 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1986) Without the consent of a former client, Bitterman agreed to represent another person in the same or a substantially related matter whose interests were materially adverse to the interests of the former client.

• Daryl James Brown, Sarasota, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 90 days following a July 12 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1973) Brown jeopardized his law firm and other attorneys by participating and involving his firm in a scheme that violated campaign contribution laws. He also engaged in dishonest conduct and assisted his client in criminal or fraudulent conduct. (Case no. SC96031)

• Bill A. Corbin, Blountstown, disbarred from practicing law in Florida, effective retroactive to May 22, 1998, following a June 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1972) Corbin failed to comply with trust accounting rules regulating The Florida Bar. He failed to hold client funds in trust and separate from his own property, keep a separate trust account file for each client and use client funds as instructed.

• Hugo Enrique Dorta, Miami, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 30 days, effective 30 days following an Aug. 23 court order. (Admitted to practice 1990) Dorta improperly charged clients in personal injury cases.

• Clifford Douglas Edelston, Winter Park, suspended from practicing law in Florida for one year, effective 30 days following a June 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1985) Edelston failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client, keep a client reasonably informed and comply with other rules regulating The Florida Bar. He also did not respond to The Florida Bar’s investigative inquiries regarding these matters.

• James Gaultney Etheredge, Ft. Walton Beach, reprimanded for professional misconduct following an Aug. 23 court order. Etheredge is also placed on probation for two years. (Admitted to practice: 1972) In two unrelated cases, Etheredge failed keep clients reasonably informed about the status of their cases. He also failed to respond to Bar inquiries.

• Kenneth Oscar Heyder, Pembroke Pines, resigned in lieu of disciplinary proceedings, with leave to seek readmission after three years, effective retroactive to Feb. 4, following an Aug. 23 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1975) Heyder pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing a federal grand jury investigation .

• John Charles Lafayette, Palm Harbor, suspended from practicing law in Florida until further court order, effective 30 days following an Aug. 17 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1980) Lafayette failed to comply fully with a subpoena issued by The Florida Bar regarding an audit of his trust account. Trust account records provided by Lafayette show a shortage and misappropriation of client funds.

• Robert Alexander Lesperance, Miami, suspended from practicing law in Florida for two years, effective retroactive to Jan. 13, 2000, following an Aug. 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) Lesperance violated trust account rules. He also failed to comply with a subpoena issued by the Bar.

• Keith Corneilus Levarity, Miami, disbarred from practicing law in Florida for five years, effective immediately following a June 13 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1983) Levarity failed to submit to an audit of his trust account records, a condition of his petition for Disciplinary Resignation, as ordered on Dec. 17, 1998. He also failed to notify a client of the resignation.

• Robert Jerome Lohlein, Miami, suspended from practicing law in Florida for three years, effective retroactive to June 13, 1999, following an Aug. 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1990) Lohlein failed to provide competent representation to a client, act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing clients, keep clients reasonably informed about the status of their cases and comply with other rules regulating The Florida Bar.

• Julio Cesar Marrero, Coral Gables, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 30 days, effective 30 days following a June 28 court order. (Admitted to practice:1988) In September 1998, Marrero pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor. As a result of his guilty plea, Marrero was found to be in violation of several rules regulating The Florida Bar, including failing to report professional misconduct and committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.

• Jacinta Marie Mathis, Orlando, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 90 days, effective 30 days following an Aug. 23 court order. (Admitted to practice:1989). Mathis failed to provide a client with competent representation, act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing clients, keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter, comply with trust account rules and comply with other rules regulating The Florida Bar.

• Laura Rappaport Morrison, Plantation, suspended from practicing law in Florida for two years, effective 30 days following an Aug. 23 court order. Morrison will be placed on probation for six months upon reinstatement. (Admitted to practice: 1980) She intentionally or negligently made misrepresentations to a court, engaged in a physical altercation with a client and failed to respond to investigative inquiries by The Florida Bar regarding the altercation.

• Dan William Moses, Boca Raton, reprimanded for professional misconduct following a June 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) While representing a client in a criminal case, Moses failed to provide competent representation and act with reasonable diligence and promptness.

• Jesus Novo, III, suspended automatically from practicing law in Florida, effective 30 days following a July 31 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1993) In March, Novo pleaded guilty to one felony count of introduction/possession of an unlawful article into a county detention facility.

• Brian Robert Pingor, Clearwater, reprimanded for professional misconduct following an Aug. 23 court order. He is further placed on probation for three years. (Admitted to practice: 1988) In June 1999, Pingor was charged with having committed a first degree misdemeanor battery. He was placed on probation for 12 months and required to enroll in a domestic violence intervention program and undergo alcohol evaluation.

• John Arthur Racin, Port St. Lucie, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 10 days, effective June 29, following a May 10 court order. Upon reinstatement, he is placed on probation for one year. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Racin failed to keep clients reasonably informed about the status of their cases, act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing clients, maintain minimum trust accounting records and comply with other rules regulating The Florida Bar. Racin is currently a member in good standing.

• Michael Dean Ray, Miami, publicly reprimanded for professional misconduct following an Aug. 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1978) Ray made false statements regarding an administrative law judge in the U.S. Executive Office for Immigration Review.

• Will Jackson Richardson, Tallahassee, suspended from practicing law inFlorida for 90 days, effective immediately following an August 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1989) In six unrelated cases, Richardson violated several rules regulating The Florida Bar. In one case, he failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client, make reasonable efforts to expedite litigation consistent with the interests of the client and respond to Florida Bar investigative inquiries.

• Roger Wade Rizk, Charlotte, N.C., reprimanded for professional misconduct following an Aug. 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1970) Rizk failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.

• Luis H. Roses, Ft. Lauderdale, disbarred permanently from practicing law in Florida, effective immediately following an Aug. 20 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1986) Roses continued to engage in the practice of law following his March 1999 disciplinary resignation.

• Maria Hortencia Sandoval, Santurce, Puerto Rico, reprimanded for professional misconduct following a May 10 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1979) Sandoval was found guilty of criminal misconduct by The Florida Bar.

• John L. Scott, Branford, suspended from practicing law in Florida until further court order, effective 30 days following a July 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1975) A client accused Scott of misconduct of a sexual nature. He was subsequently arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution. The criminal charges were dropped when he entered into a pretrial diversion program agreement. A Florida Bar referee found Scott guilty of knowingly making a false statement of material fact and engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation when addressing the alleged misconduct.

• John Thomas Shandorf, New York, N.Y., suspended automatically from practicing law in Florida, effective 30 days from July 3, following a July 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1993) Shandorf was found guilty of two felonies, conspiracy to receive bribes in return for being influenced in the performance of official duties and accepting bribes in return for being influenced in the performance of official duties.

• Frank Leonard Smith, St. Petersburg, resigned in lieu of disciplinary proceedings, with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective 30 days following a June 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1992) Smith allegedly failed to respond to a client’s requests for information about a case and charged excessive fees.

• Douglas Brent Steier, Ft. Myers, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 10 days, effective 45 days following a June 28 court order. Upon reinstatement,Steier will be placed on probation for two years. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Steier failed tomaintain minimum trust accounting records and follow minimum trust accounting procedures.

• James David White, Tallahassee, suspended automatically from practicinglaw in Florida, effective 30 days following an Aug. 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1974) White was found guilty of felony criminal mischief and using a weapon in the commission of a felony.

• Robert Arthur Young, Lake Wales, placed on probation for one year following an Aug. 23 court order. The probation is conditioned on Young’s active participation in a program offered by Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc., an organization that assists attorneys with chemical dependency or psychological problems. (Admitted to practice: 1972) In November 2000, Young entered a written no contest plea to contributing to the delinquency of a child, a misdemeanor.

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