Discipline being considered for Cape Girardeau lawyer
Friday, July 6, 2012
A Cape Girardeau lawyer was among 28 listed last week as having cases held before a disciplinary hearing panel.
The Missouri Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel filed a disciplinary charge against Scott D. Reynolds in January, saying there was probable cause to believe Reynolds was guilty of professional misconduct.
The misconduct allegation revolves around a domestic assault.
Reynolds pleaded guilty in 2010 to misdemeanor third-degree domestic assault of his fiancee and was sentenced to 28 days in jail.
He was accused of punching and kicking Jacqueline Carter on Feb. 17, 2010, at his home in Jackson. The incident allegedly occurred after the couple had an argument. His plea said he pulled her "hair lace" from her head.
Reynolds did not return calls seeking comment on the hearing.
"It's a hearing process that has been started," said Missouri Legal Ethics Counsel Sara Rittman. The hearing took place in May, but the hearing panel has not sent its recommendations to the Missouri Supreme Court.
The Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel would not comment on the case.
A Missouri Supreme Court order granting public access to misconduct cases took effect last week. The public gains access to the cases after the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel files a disciplinary charge with an advisory panel and the lawyer has responded to the charge.
Previously, public access was allowed only when the office filed such a charge with the Supreme Court, which oversees lawyer discipline in the state.
Missouri also is developing rules to let citizens attend disciplinary hearings or review hearing transcripts. Forty states have similar rules.
If the panel finds that the lawyer is guilty of misconduct, "it makes findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendations for discipline, which are then filed in the Supreme Court. It is the responsibility of the Supreme Court to impose any discipline found to be warranted," according to the Legal Ethics Counsel website.
Reynolds represented Clay Waller after Waller's July 2011 arrest on charges of stealing and harassment. Waller has since been accused of killing his estranged wife, Jacque Waller, who disappeared June 1, 2011.
Clay Waller's case was assigned to the public defender's office last month.