Oft-suspended Miami attorney disbarred following communication issues in appeal

By Karen Kidd | Dec 28, 2018

TALLAHASSEE — Miami attorney Kenneth Joseph Kukec has been disbarred following a Nov. 29 Florida Supreme Court order and five suspensions in less than five years, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.

His disbarment, which was effective immediately, stemmed from a post-conviction appeal, according to the state bar's Dec. 27 announcement of the discipline and the state Supreme Court's order.

"Kukec was retained to handle a post-conviction appeal but failed to return telephone calls or to respond to the written communications of his incarcerated client," the announcement said. "Kukec had a history of discipline and failed to respond to the inquiries of The Florida Bar or to appear in the disciplinary proceedings."

In its two-page order, the high court approved the uncontested referee's report filed before disbarring Kukec and ordering him to pay about $1,849 in costs.

Florida court orders are not final until time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion does not alter the effective date of Kukec's disbarment.

Attorneys disbarred in Florida state generally cannot reapply for admission for five years and must pass through an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam.

Kukec was admitted to the bar in Florida on Nov. 14, 1986, according to his profile at the state bar website.

In April the state Supreme Court handed down an order finding Kukec in contempt and suspending him for the fifth time since 2014. At the time of his disbarment, Kukec was under suspension following Supreme Court orders handed down in March, April and September 2017, according to the state bar's formal complaint filed with the court. His suspension status was the reason Kukec's disbarment was effective immediately.

In its formal complaint, the state bar said the most recent allegations against Kukec stemmed from a complaint filed in January 2016 by a client who retained Kukec in April 2013 to pursue appeal of a criminal conviction. Kukec pursued the case until his client's conviction was affirmed and a mandate issued in December 2015.

"The client’s chief complaint is that [Kukec] failed to return telephone calls and answer any of his written communications," the formal complaint said.

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