TALLAHASSEE — New Port Richey attorney Joshua Johnson Stewart has been disbarred following a Dec. 21 Florida Supreme Court order after the high court found him in contempt for failing to comply with previous court orders, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.
Stewart's disbarment was effective immediately because he already was suspended, and he was ordered to pay $3,478.86 in costs, according to the state Supreme Court's two-page order. The state bar announced the discipline and the Supreme Court's order on Jan. 29.
"He held himself out as an attorney and continued to practice law after being suspended," the state bar's announcement said. "On June 20, 2011, Stewart was suspended for 91 days and placed on probation for three years upon reinstatement. On June 25, 2015, he was suspended for three years."
In Florida, court orders are not final until the time to file a rehearing motion expires. Attorneys disbarred in the state may not re-apply for admission for five years, and even then they must pass through an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam.
Stewart was admitted to the bar in Florida on April 15, 2004, according to his profile at the state bar website.
Stewart first was suspended for 91 days in 2011 after a guilty plea to possession of oxycodone and driving without a valid license, according to the state Supreme Court's order and a referee's report at the time.
In March 2013, Stewart, then 37, was arrested in connection with the theft of an outboard motor and trying to sell it on Craigslist, according to a 2015 referee's report. "The engine was returned to the original owner," the referee's report said.
Stewart was arrested again in March 2015 in Pasco County and charged with grand theft of merchandise from a Best Buy. "He was found to be in possession of morphine," the referee's report of that time said.
"He subsequently pled guilty to possession of morphine, resisting without violence and petit theft in Pasco County. He was sentenced to 2 years of probation on both cases with specified conditions."
The state Supreme Court handed down an order in June 2015 suspending Stewart an additional three years, making the suspension concurrent with probation in his criminal cases.