TALLAHASSEE – Cocoa attorney Timothy Francis Pickles has been suspended for 91 days following a Dec. 28 Florida Supreme Court order over his mishandling of a homeowners association's case because he was impaired by alcohol, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.
Pickles' suspension also was handed down because he didn't pay federal personal income taxes from 2008 through 2012, and professional income taxes between 2005 and 2014, according to the high court's two-page order and the consent judgment filed with the court. The consent judgment also includes Pickles' conditional guilty plea.
Pickles' suspension was effective 30 days from the date of the order. Pickles also was ordered to pay a little more than $1,948 in costs.
In Florida, court orders are not final until after the deadline to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion would not alter the effective date of the Pickles' suspension.
Pickles was admitted to the bar in Florida on Sept. 21, 1995, according to his profile at the state bar website. Pickles had no prior discipline, according to his profile and the consent judgment.
Pickles was representing the homeowners association in Circuit Court in Brevard County in June 2016 when he arrived late, but the trial continued with testimony of witness until the lunch recess, according to the consent judgment. Pickles returned from lunch late "in an impaired state," he "was lethargic, slow, non-responsive, red-faced and falling asleep," the consent judgment said.
"When (Pickles) stood up, he dropped papers and tripped when trying to walk. The judge stopped the trial and contacted (Pickles) office to make arrangements for someone from his law firm to pick up (Pickles) from the courthouse."
It was soon after that Pickles "separated from his law firm," the consent judgment said.
The law firm filed a motion for a mistrial on behalf of the homeowners association, which the trial court granted over the objections of the other party in the case.
In April 2017 during a sworn statement, Pickles admitted to consuming alcoholic beverages the day of the trial, according to the consent judgment. "(Pickles') conduct delayed the trial and caused unnecessary and avoidable legal expenses for both side," the consent judgment said.