Tennessee lawyer censured for attempting to defend DUI client while drunk

Tennessee lawyer censured for attempting to defend DUI client while drunk
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HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. — A Cleveland, Tennessee, attorney has received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court for arriving to court drunk to defend a client accused of driving under the influence.

Kent Thomas Jones received a $2,000 flat fee to represent a DUI client, but when he arrived for the September 2017 court date, he was late, smelled of alcohol and was acting erratically, The Chattanoogan reported.

According to WTVC, Jones was initially charged with public intoxication and agreed to provide his client a full refund. The criminal charges against him were later dismissed

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To date, Jones has repaid $1,650 of the owed reimbursement, and the board ruled Monday he has 60 days to pay the balance in full, The Chattanoogan reported.

Officials contend Jones violated the rules of professional conduct with regards to safekeeping funds, criminal conduct, fees and prejudice to the administration of justice. A public censure is a formal rebuke and warning to an attorney but does not affect the attorney’s ability to practice law, WTVC reported.

Read the board’s full statement below.