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Kentucky Bar Ass'n v. Arnett

Supreme Court of Kentucky

June 11, 2015

KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION, MOVANT
v.
JOHN GREENE ARNETT, JR., RESPONDENT

Released for Publication June 23, 2015.

OPINION

IN SUPREME COURT

OPINION AND ORDER

John D. Minton Jr., CHIEF JUSTICE

The Respondent, John Greene Arnett, Jr., was admitted to the Kentucky Bar on October 21, 1976. His KBA Member Number is 01745 and his bar roster address is 6900 Houston Road, Building 600, Suite 23, P.O. Box 1178, Florence, Kentucky 41022. He is alleged to have committed numerous violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Kentucky Bar Association's Board of Governors has recommended that he be permanently disbarred for his misconduct. This Court adopts the recommendation.

I. Background

A. Underlying conduct and charges.

Arnett's misconduct came to light in the course of an investigation of his use of client funds by the Boone County Sheriff's Department. Arnett had been retained by Robert Shane Hamblin in February 2012 to represent him in a divorce proceeding and received $75,000.00 in marital funds to hold in trust pending final division of the couple's assets. Arnett placed the funds in his IOLTA account. As part of the divorce settlement, Hamblin was directed to pay his ex-wife one-half of the funds being held by Arnett. Hamblin instructed Arnett to release those funds to the ex-wife. Arnett, however, refused to disburse the finds.

In November 2012, the client retained another attorney to finalize the divorce proceedings. That counsel notified Linda Talley Smith, Commonwealth's Attorney for Gallatin and Boone Counties, of the situation. Smith requested an investigation, which was conducted by Detective Joshua Quinn of the Boone County Sheriff's

Page 339

Department. The detective obtained the records of Arnett's trust account and found that the account was completely empty. Inquiry Com'n v. Arnett, 439 S.W.3d 168, 169 (Ky. 2014).

This led to a disciplinary proceeding. While the disciplinary matter was being investigated, Arnett was temporarily suspended from the practice of law as of August 21, 2014. Id. at 170. That suspension is still in effect.

The criminal investigation in Boone County had a domino effect. Several other victims were discovered, leading to a multiple-count felony indictment in the Boone Circuit Court in Criminal Action No. 14-CR-00368 on April 12, 2014, and five separate ...


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