Morrissey appealing his 2nd law license revocation
Richmond lawyer Joe Morrissey expects the Virginia Supreme Court to act Thursday on his request for a stay while he appeals the revocation of his law license effective Friday.
His lawyer, William M. Stanley Jr., said they have filed a notice of appeal and assignments of error in Richmond Circuit Court, and a stay request with the high court. The Virginia State Bar has until 2 p.m. on Thursday to respond to the Supreme Court.
Stanley said he and Morrissey were grateful that the justices are considering the matter on such short notice before the revocation takes effect Friday. The final order of the three-judge panel did not reach the Supreme Court until Monday.
The three judges held a weeklong hearing in March on professional misconduct allegations filed by the Virginia State Bar against Morrissey, a former state delegate, Richmond commonwealth’s attorney and Richmond mayoral candidate.
Eighteen of 21 charges brought by the bar were dismissed. Two of those that were not dismissed were technical in nature, Stanley said.
But the judges found he committed a criminal or deliberately wrongful act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness to practice law.
In 2014, Morrissey entered an Alford plea and was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor involving sexual relations with his then-17year-old office receptionist, whom he later married. The bar argued that the misconduct was especially egregious and undermined public confidence in the legal profession.
In seeking a stiff sanction, the bar argued that Morrissey had a “pattern of misconduct” that went back decades.
In its June 8 final order, the three-judge panel noted that Morrissey’s prior disciplinary record included three dismissals with terms, a private reprimand, a public reprimand, a six-month suspension of his license, a three-year suspension, and the revocation of his license in 2003. His license was restored by the Virginia Supreme Court in 2012.
The judges also ruled that Morrissey violated two rules of conduct in connection with another attorney in his office who represented a man in King and Queen County on Morrissey’s behalf before she was completely qualified to do so. She had passed her bar exam but not yet taken the oath of fidelity to Virginia.
The panel cleared him of misconduct charges stemming from his representation of the planned Virginia Slavery Museum in complaints filed by former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, the founder of the now-defunct museum.
The judges revoked his license effective June 15.