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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Mar. 7, 200212:00 PM EST

Supreme Court disciplines attorneys

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The Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders suspended 13 attorneys, reprimanded three others, disbarred one and accepted the resignation of six. Two of the attorneys disciplined were from Northeast Florida. 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.

The local lawyers disciplined are:

• John Newman Bryant, suspended from practicing law in Florida for one year, effective 30 days following a Feb. 21 court order. Upon reinstatement, Bryant is placed on probation for two years. Bryant was found guilty of violating rules regulating The Florida Bar in two separate matters. In one matter, Bryant exploited the lawyer-client relationship.

• Pat Morris Fowler, Orange Park, suspended from practicing law in Florida until further court order, effective 30 days following a Feb. 20 court order. Audits of Fowler’s trust account revealed that he misappropriated client funds and failed to maintain required records.

The other lawyers disciplined are:

• Charles Appel, Miami, suspended from practicing law in Florida for two years, effective retroactive to Jan. 4, 2001, following a Feb. 21 court order. In May 2000, Appel pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful compensation/reward for official behavior.

• James Edmund Baker, Orlando, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 91 days, effective 30 days following a Jan. 31 court order. Baker committed three criminally punishable forgeries on legal documents, caused his secretary to unlawfully notarize two of the forgeries, caused two other employees to witness the forgeries and submitted the forged documents to an attorney for use in a real estate closing.

• James Raymond Boyer, Sarasota, resigned in lieu of disciplinary proceedings, without leave to seek readmission, effective immediately following a Feb. 14 court order. Acting as personal representative in an estate case, Boyer has failed to account to beneficiaries for assets of the estate in the amount of approximately $442,000. In another estate case, in which Boyer resigned as personal representative, he has failed to account for all assets of the estate and has failed to deliver estate records to his successor.

• Ronald George Caron, Saco, Maine, suspended automatically from practicing law in Florida, effective 30 days following a Feb. 5 court order. In October 1999, Caron pleaded guilty to one count of concealment of assets in a bankruptcy case, a felony.

• Samuel Albert Carter, Miami, resigned in lieu of disciplinary proceedings, with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective 30 days following a Feb. 21 court order. Carter allegedly failed to promptly remit mortgage proceeds to a lender.

• Karen Schmid Cox, Tampa, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 30 days, to run concurrent with the one year suspension entered, following a Jan. 31 court order. In two unrelated cases, in which Cox was acting as a prosecutor, she made improper statements during closing arguments. In one case, Cox implied that the defendant would not have been prosecuted if he was not guilty.

• B. Gayle S. Graziano, Daytona Beach, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 10 days, effective 30 days following a Feb. 21 court order. Graziano failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.

• Dale Robert Hightower, Miami, reprimanded for professional misconduct following a Feb. 21 court order. While representing the defendant in a civil case, Hightower engaged in improper conduct during the closing argument which unfairly prejudiced the plaintiff.

• Charles Paul Horn, Beverly Hills, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 30 days, effective retroactive to March 5, 2001, following a Jan. 31 court order. In three separate matters Horn violated rules regulating The Florida Bar. In all three cases, he failed to respond in writing to Bar inquiries into his conduct.

• Donald P. Kohl, West Palm Beach, resigned in lieu of disciplinary proceedings, with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective retroactive to Feb. 22, 2001, following a Feb. 21 court order. Kohl allegedly violated trust account rules.

• Alexandre Lasnaud, Boca Raton, suspended automatically from practicing law in Florida, effective 30 days following a Feb. 8 court order. In January, Lasnaud pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of justice, a felony.

• Francisca Kathleen C. Lynch, Miami, suspended from practicing law in Florida for three years, effective 30 days following a Feb. 21 court order. Lynch is further placed on probation for three years. In several cases, Lynch failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing clients and to communicate with her clients. She was also arrested and subsequently pleaded nolo contendere to misdemeanor DUI in two separate cases.

• Donald Linus McBath Jr., Tampa, reprimanded for professional misconduct following a Feb. 14 court order. McBath violated rules regulating trust accounts. He also failed to ensure that his law firm had in effect measures giving reasonable assurance that a non-lawyer-employee’s conduct was compatible with his professional obligations.

• Steven Phillip Oppenheim, Miami, resigned in lieu of disciplinary proceedings, without leave to seek readmission, effective March 1, following a Jan. 31 court order. Oppenheim is accused of misuse of funds.

• Carlos Antonio Santos II, Miami, reprimanded for professional misconduct following a Feb. 14 court order. Santos represented a client in two related real estate transactions. As a result of that representation, Santos was charged with grand theft, organized fraud and obtaining a mortgage or promissory note by false representation.

• John L. Scott, Branford, disbarred from practicing law in Florida, effective immediately following a Feb. 7 court order. Scott coerced a client to engage in sexual conduct with him in exchange for a reduction in his fees.

• Paul Samuels Smith, Sarasota, suspended from practicing law in Florida until he fully complies with the terms and conditions of his probation, effective 30 days following a Feb. 11 court order. Smith has failed to comply with a Sept. 9, 1999, court order that states, as a condition of his probation in case no. SC94521, he must pay restitution to beneficiaries in an estate case.

• Dennis L. Stewart, Summerville, S.C., suspended automatically from practicing law in Florida, effective 30 days from Jan. 29, following a Jan. 31 court order. In September 2001, Stewart pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement on a HUD-1 settlement statement, a felony.

• Michael Harris Tarkoff, Miami, resigned in lieu of disciplinary proceedings, with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective retroactive to March 12, 1999, following a Feb. 21 court order. Tarkoff was adjudicated guilty in Federal Court on charges that he did knowingly combine, conspire, confederate and agree with persons known and unknown to conduct and attempt to conduct financial transactions, knowing that the property involved in the financial transactions represented proceeds of some form of unlawful activity.

• Richard Earl Trapp, Maitland, suspended from practicing law in Florida for three years, effective retroactive to May 22, 2001, following a Jan. 31 court order. Trapp violated rules regulating trust accounts.

• John Franklin Wade, Plantation, resigned in lieu of disciplinary proceedings, with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective retroactive to Jan. 16, 2001, following a Feb. 21 court order. Wade allegedly continued to engage in the practice of law after being suspended for failure to pay membership fees and acted in contempt of court by failing to notify clients of the

suspension.

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