Released for Publication March 3, 2015.
Minton, C.J.; Abramson, Cunningham, Keller, Noble and Venters, JJ., sitting. All concur.
John D. Minton Jr.,
IN SUPREME COURT
OPINION AND ORDER
The Kentucky Bar Association (KBA) moves this Court to find Daniel Warren James guilty of violating Supreme Court Rule (SCR) 3.130-8.4(b) and SCR 3.130-8.1(b). Although the KBA properly served James, he has never formally responded to the charges. In light of his failure to respond to these serious charges, as well as his history of disciplinary action, the KBA recommends James be permanently disbarred. James was admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky on October 17, 1991. His bar roster address is 801 West High Street, Lexington, Kentucky, and his KBA number is 84052.
On December 4, 2012, James pled guilty to the felony charge of Flagrant Non-Support
in Laurel Circuit Court. On January 24, 2013, the Laurel Circuit Court sentenced James to five (5) years in prison, probated for ten (10) years. Additionally, James was ordered to pay restitution of $233,000 through the Laurel County Clerk's Office, at the rate of $800 a month beginning in February 2013.
After learning of the felony guilty plea, the Inquiry Commission filed a formal complaint against James pursuant to 3.160(2) on February 8, 2013. The Inquiry Commission specifically noted SCR 3.130-8.4(b), which states: " It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to: (b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects." The complaint explained to James that he had twenty (20) days to file a response. Additionally, the complaint noted that failure to respond could result in additional allegations pursuant to SCR 3.130-8.1(b) .
The Disciplinary Clerk mailed James the complaint via certified mail to two addresses. John Harrens signed for the complaint sent to the bar roster address. The complaint sent to the alternate address was returned as unclaimed. To ensure service, the Fayette County Sheriff's Office personally served James at his bar roster address on April 29, 2013. The KBA notes that James contacted bar counsel on or about August 8, 2013, and stated he planned to file a response. However, he did not do so.
On March 11, 2014, the Inquiry Commission filed a formal charge against James. Count I of the Charge cited misconduct for committing a criminal act reflecting adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness pursuant to SCR 3.130-8.4(b). Count II of the Charge cited a violation of 3.130-8.1(b) for knowingly failing to respond to the Inquiry Commission's February 8, 2013 complaint.
The Disciplinary Clerk sent the Charge to James via certified mail. However, James failed to claim his mail and, on April 21, 2014, the Fayette County Sheriff's Office served James with the Charge at his bar roster address. James failed to respond to the Charge. On June 3, 2014, the Inquiry Commission filed an Order of Submission and ...