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Bar Discipline Roundup

Jun 29, 2022

Wake County attorney disbarred

Attorney: R. Cherry Stokes  Location: Wake County   Bar membership: Admitted in 1972; disbarred in 1987; readmitted in 1993   Disciplinary action: Disbarment, effective Oct. 31  Background: On Nov. 22, 2021, the North Carolina State Bar filed a formal complaint against Stokes, alleging, among other things, that he was convicted of eight counts of felonious injury by […]

Dec 12, 2018

Charlotte attorney suspended

Tania Love Leon was suspended from the practice of law for two years on Nov. 28. The suspension is stayed so long as Leon complies with certain conditions.

Dec 4, 2018

Former Charlotte attorney suspended

Jeffrey W. Ellingworth was suspended from the practice of law for four years on Nov. 21.

Nov 29, 2018

Injunction against Goldsboro attorney partly lifted

An injunction against Charles R. Gurley was lifted on Nov. 6, and he may return to the practice of law, but an injunction prohibiting him from handling entrusted funds remains in effect.

Sep 24, 2018

Elizabeth City attorney suspended

Attorney: Joseph H. Forbes Jr. Location: Elizabeth City Bar membership: Member since 1984 Disciplinary action: Suspended from the practice of law for three years on Sept. 17. After six months, Forbes may apply for a stay of the remaining portion of the suspension. Background: A random procedural audit of Forbes’ trust account revealed a failure […]

Aug 21, 2018

Gastonia attorney reprimanded

Attorney: Sean T. Dillenbeck Location: Gastonia Bar membership: Member since 2009 Disciplinary action: Reprimanded on May 14 Background: Dillenbeck represented a homeowners’ association in a district court civil case in Mecklenburg County. The defendant’s counsel sent Dillenbeck an email on March 30, 2017 reminding him that an arbitration hearing in the case was scheduled to […]

Aug 10, 2018

Lincolnton attorney reprimanded

Attorney: Blair M. Pettis Location: Lincolnton Bar membership: Member since 2007 Disciplinary action: Reprimanded on May 30 Background: Pettis was appointed to represent a client on criminal charges. He failed to meet or communicate with the client despite numerous requests from family members, and he neglected the case by failing to file a discovery motion. […]

Jun 14, 2018

Charlotte attorney suspended

Attorney: Jeffrey D. Smith Location: Charlotte Bar membership: Member since 1982 Disciplinary action: Suspended from the practice of law for an additional two years on June 5. Background: Smith held some entrusted funds in his trust account for which he was unable to identify the clients to whom those funds belonged to a degree sufficient […]

Jun 14, 2018

Rocky Mount attorney reprimanded

Attorney: Sonya L. Whitaker Location: Rocky Mount Bar membership: Member since 1999 Disciplinary action: Reprimanded on May 30 Background: Whitaker filed a reinstatement petition from an administrative suspension of her law license. On the petition she answered that she did not have any disciplinary complaints, investigations or actions pending before a professional licensing organization when [&h[...]

May 3, 2018

Winston-Salem attorney disbarred

Attorney: David H. Caffey Location: Winston-Salem Bar membership: Member since 1978 Disciplinary action: Disbarred on April 20 Background: Between July 2017 and February 2018, Caffey misappropriated over $3,655 of entrusted client funds from his attorney trust account and used these funds for his personal benefit or for the benefit of someone other than the beneficial […]

May 3, 2018

Burlington attorney disbarred

Attorney: James M. Shelton Location: Burlington Bar membership: Member since 2003 Disciplinary action: Disbarred on April 20 Background: The state bar began an investigation into various matters including allegations that Shelton misappropriated more than $4,000 of entrusted client funds and made material misrepresentations to a client and to the bar. Shelton resigned his law license […]

May 3, 2018

Snow Camp attorney suspended

Attorney: Philip S. Adkins Location: Snow Camp Bar membership: Member since 1981 Disciplinary action: Suspended from the practice of law for two years on April 18. The suspension is stayed for two years so long as Adkins complies with certain conditions. Background: An investigative audit of Adkins’ trust account revealed deficiencies in his account management, […]

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