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Oklahoma Supreme Court Suspends AWOL Attorney

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has suspended for two years and a day the license of a Tulsa lawyer who, according to a professional tribunal, “basically abandoned all of her pending cases and clients in October 2010.”

Attorney Jonna Lynn Reynolds was already under suspension for failure to comply with mandatory continuing legal education requirements in 2011 when the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility Tribunal heard a five-count complaint against her.  The complaint alleged neglect of cases, failure to keep clients informed of the status of their cases, collecting and retaining fees for which no services were provided and engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.  The Supreme Court opinion handed down last week said Reynolds admitted that she abandoned cases.

Reynolds testified that she had faced problems with depression, but the court found she was “neither taking medications nor attending counseling.”  Despite her allegation of depression, the court found no mitigating circumstances that affected their decision.

The court also ordered Reynolds to pay $1,332.66 for costs associated with the disciplinary proceeding.

Dissenting Justices: Disciplinary Pattern ‘Inexplicable’

Four justices dissented at least in part to terms of Reynolds’ suspension.  Justice Noma Gurich, Justice Yvonne Kauger and vice chief Justice Tom Colbert  dissented from the addition of one day beyond two years to the term of Reynold’s suspension.  Justice John Reif also dissented, in part.

Two justices cited inconsistent impositions of discipline against various Oklahoma lawyer as the reason for their dissent. Gurich joined Kauger in a dissenting opinion.

“Since 2009, we have issued 5 private reprimands involving: failure to respond to grievances, failure to account for client funds and communicate with clients, selling marital property and concealing it, pleading nolo contendere with pointing a firearm, entering a plea to child abuse by injury. The disciplinary pattern is inexplicable,” the two dissenting justices wrote.

Read More: Supreme Court Case Number SCBD-5814

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