The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org

SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES 13 ATTORNEYS


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2012
CONTACT:
Karen Y. Kirksey; kkirksey@flabar.org,
The Florida Bar
TELEPHONE:
850/561-5766


Summaries of orders issued between March 9 – May 1, 2012

The Florida Bar, the state's guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 13 attorneys, disbarring four and suspending seven. Some attorneys received more than one form of discipline. One attorney was placed on probation; two attorneys were publicly reprimanded and one attorney was ordered to pay restitution.

As an official arm of the Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation are charged with administering a statewide disciplinary system to enforce Supreme Court rules of professional conduct for the 93,000-plus lawyers admitted to practice law in Florida. Since Aug. 1, 2007, case files have been posted to attorneys' individual Florida Bar profiles and may be reviewed at and/or downloaded from The Florida Bar's website, www.floridabar.org.

Court orders are not final until time expires to file a rehearing motion and, if filed, determined. The filing of such a motion does not alter the effective date of the discipline. Disbarred lawyers may not re-apply for admission for five years. They are required to go through an extensive process that rejects many who apply. It includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam. Historically, fewer than 5 percent of disbarred lawyers seek readmission.

Jessica Ann Bennett, 13194 U.S. Highway 301 S., Riverview, disbarred, effective immediately, following an April 3, court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Bennett was the subject of several Bar complaints. After being retained by multiple clients, Bennett failed to adequately communicate and took no action to move matters forward. She also converted client property, made unauthorized withdrawals from client accounts, and engaged in other unethical conduct. Bennett repeatedly failed to respond to official Bar inquiries and those of opposing counsel. Bennett was also ordered to pay restitution of $50,800 to a client before any possible readmission. (Case No. SC11-1428)

Haynes Edward Brinson, 28 N. John Young Parkway, Kissimmee, suspended for 30 days, effective 30 days from an April 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2003) After being retained, Brinson failed to adequately communicate and respond to requests from a client in an escrow matter. Brinson took no substantive action on behalf of the client to collect or determine entitlement to the escrow funds, refusing to even file an action with the civil court. In another case, Brinson also failed to respond to numerous official Bar inquiries and failed to comply with appellate court orders, causing an appeal to be dismissed. (Case No. SC11-1991)

Russell Flint Crump, 4404 N.W. 36th Ave., Suite B, Gainesville, disbarred effective immediately, following an April 19 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) Crump was found guilty in circuit court of one count of felony child abuse. (Case No. SC11-1988)

Kimberly S. Daise, 8323 S.W. 64th Place, Gainesville, suspended effective 30 days from a March 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1989) Daise pleaded guilty in a federal case to one count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. As a condition of her plea agreement, Daise agreed to resign and surrender her license to practice law. She also agreed to pay restitution of more than $1.8 million to two financial institutions. (Case No. SC12-461)

Jason Steven Dalley, 35 S.E. 6th Ave., Delray Beach, publicly reprimanded following an April 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Dalley failed to competently and diligently represent a client. After being retained to represent a woman in a personal injury matter, Dalley allowed the statute of limitations to run out on her claim, because of inadequate case monitoring. (Case No. SC12-16)

John D. Hooker, 13610 E. U.S. Highway 92, Dover, suspended for one year, retroactive to Nov. 9, 2011, following an April 3 court order. Upon reinstatement, Hooker is placed on probation for two years. (Admitted to practice: 1974) Hooker is further directed to complete a trust accounting workshop. Upon receiving nearly $2 million dollars in settlement funds on behalf of a married couple, Hooker made preliminary disbursements to third parties, the married clients, and himself without having his clients execute a closing statement. Hooker's payments to himself exceeded the amount ultimately approved by the closing statement, requiring him to pay non-trust money to the clients for their final disbursement. (Case No. SC11-2445)

George Granville Lewis, 401 E. Las Olas Blvd., Suite 130-501, Fort Lauderdale, suspended for three years, effective immediately, following a May 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) This suspension will run consecutive to the one year suspension ordered by the court on Oct. 20, 2011. Lewis was held in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of the previous suspension. He was required to submit a sworn affidavit to the Bar listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of his suspension order. (Case No. SC12-327)

Shawn Louis Michaelson, 7274 Bedlington Road, Miami Lakes, disbarred effective retroactive to March 11, 2011, following an April 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2001) Michaelson was found in contempt for failing to comply in a timely manner with an earlier suspension order and for failing to respond to orders of the Supreme Court of Florida. (Case No. SC11-1389)

Julio R. Ferrer Roo, 8500 W. Flagler St., Suite 105A, Miami, suspended until further order, effective immediately, following an April 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1971) Roo repeatedly failed to respond to official Bar inquiries and was held into contempt for failure to show good cause for non-compliance. (Case No. SC12-283)

Rolando Jose Santiago, 240 Apollo Beach Blvd., Apollo Beach, to receive a public reprimand by the Board of Governors, following an April 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2002) After being paid a retainer fee of $2,500 to represent clients, Santiago admitted that he failed to adequately communicate with them. In a real estate matter, another couple retained Santiago at a rate of $2,500 and subsequently discharged him and retained new counsel. (Case No. SC11-1444)

Joseph Dan Turner, 13317 Lake George Lane, Tampa, suspended for one year, effective immediately, following an April 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1986) Turner was held in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of an October 2011 suspension order. It required Turner to notify his clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of his suspension and provide to The Florida Bar within 30 days of his suspension, a sworn affidavit listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that received a copy of his suspension order. (SC12-325)

William Bedford Watson, III, 4131 N.W. 28th Lane, Suite 2, Gainesville, permanently disbarred effective immediately, following an April 13 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1966) Watson engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. He deliberately and intentionally misused client trust funds and in serving as the administrator, protecting the interests of the lender and the borrower in a real estate deal, Watson failed to explain the nature of the transaction until long after the funds were disbursed. (Case No. SC11-1186)

Ross Alan Willner, 5543 N. Military Trail, Apt. 2202, Boca Raton, suspended for 91 days, effective immediately, following an April 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1993) Willner was found guilty of misdemeanor DUI on two separate occasions and failed to notify the executive director of The Florida Bar about either DUI conviction. (Case No. SC11-1473)
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EDITORS: Please note The Florida Bar is not an association and "Association" is not part of our name. Proper reference is "The Florida Bar." Local bar organizations are properly termed "associations."

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EDITORS: Please note The Florida Bar is not an association and "Association" is not part of our name. Proper reference is "The Florida Bar." Local bar organizations are properly termed "associations."

[Revised: 05-31-2012]