Take 5

Maryland Supreme Court Sanctions Attorney for Professional Misconduct

The Supreme Court of Maryland has sanctioned attorney Gregory Wayne Jones with a 90-day suspension, stayed in favor of a 12-month probationary period with conditions, for professional misconduct. The misconduct involved filing a plea in a criminal case without his client’s knowledge or consent, failing to act with diligence and competence in two client matters, and charging and retaining unreasonable flat fees.

The Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland filed a Petition for Disciplinary or Remedial Action against Jones, alleging that he violated several of the Maryland Attorneys’ Rules of Professional Conduct. The violations pertained to competence, scope of representation, diligence, communication, safekeeping of property, declining or terminating representation, and misconduct.

The case revolved around Jones’s representation of Rick’kell Johnson, who had hired Jones to represent him in relation to charges stemming from a traffic stop. Johnson was charged with operating an unregistered motor vehicle, unauthorized use of a license plate, knowingly driving an uninsured vehicle, and other criminal violations.

Jones was found to have failed to communicate effectively with Johnson about the status of his cases, leading to a misunderstanding that resulted in Johnson missing a court date. Jones also charged Johnson a non-refundable fee of $4,000, which was deemed unreasonable.

After Johnson expressed dissatisfaction with Jones’s representation and requested a refund of the fee, Jones declined based on the terms of the Legal Representation Agreement. Jones also failed to provide Johnson with a copy of his file.

The court concluded that Jones violated the Maryland Attorneys’ Rules of Professional Conduct and sanctioned him with a 90-day suspension, stayed in favor of a 12-month probationary period with conditions. The conditions of the probation were not specified in the document.

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