Spencer to appeal state bar’s discipline ruling
BY PORTSIA SMITH
Caroline County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer is appealing a disciplinary violation order against him by the Virginia State Bar.
The Sixth District Committee of the Bar issued a public admonition to Spencer for talking with an imprisoned defendant about a case without notifying the defendant’s lawyers about the discussion and not offering to have his lawyers present.
The committee, chaired by Spotsylvania County Commonwealth’s Attorney Bill Neely, determined that on April 3, 2008, Spencer went to the Rappahannock Regional Jail accompanied by a deputy and questioned Thomas Reynolds III about a civil case regarding a forged will and a criminal firearms charge.
Spencer said today that he has appealed the decision.
“I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong and expect to be vindicated on appeal,” he said. “Everything I did was in the interest of public safety in mind.”
The committee did clear Spencer of three other misconduct allegations, which include fairness to opposing party and counsel, impartiality and decorum of the tribunal and responsibilities of a prosecutor.
An appeal hearing will be held April 22 in Richmond by the Virginia State Board Disciplinary Board.
Reynolds was eventually sentenced to two years in prison on the possession of a firearm by a felon charge, according to court records. The forgery charge was dropped.
Under the Virginia State Bar’s rules, there are several levels of discipline:
- The lawyer can receive a private reprimand or admonition for less serious rule violations;
- The lawyer can receive a public reprimand for more serious rule violations;
- The lawyer’s license can be suspended for up to five years, during which time the lawyer cannot practice law;
- The lawyer’s license can be revoked.