St. Petersburg attorney faces suspension after becoming ill during appeal in criminal case

By Karen Kidd | Mar 1, 2019

TALLAHASSEE – St. Petersburg attorney John C. Carver faces suspension following a Feb. 7 Florida Supreme Court order over allegations arising from a criminal appeal during which he fell ill, a recent announcement by The Florida Bar said.

"Carver repeatedly failed to respond to notices from the appellate court requiring him to submit a filing fee or paperwork for a client’s appeal in a criminal case," the state bar said in its Feb. 28 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. "He was subsequently found in contempt for violating a prior Supreme Court order."

Carver's 90-day suspension will be effective 30 days from the date of the court's, according to the high court's order.

The court also ordered Carver to pay approximately $3,200 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 Carver's suspension.

Carver was admitted to the bar in Florida on Sept. 20, 1990, according to his profile on the state bar website.

Carver had filed a notice of appeal in the criminal case and thought that questions about his client's indigency had already been resolved by a lower court's order, according to the consent judgment filed with the court. The consent judgment also includes Carver's conditional guilty plea.

At the time, Carver "was declared disabled by his then treating physicians due to the onset of a sudden and severe medical condition that left (Carver) unable to walk ... for a long period of time," the consent judgment said.

Carver claimed his office contacted the appeals court by phone "advising them of the difficulty of the situation," the consent judgment said.

Carver also appeared at a November 2016 court-ordered hearing to explain his failures to respond to the appeals court’s orders. However, "his attempts to articulate his reasons for failing to respond to the court's orders were many and varied and did not adequately explain why it took four court orders and a time-wasting show-cause appearance to extract a response from (Carver)," the consent judgment said.

The appeals court subsequently referred the matter to the state bar.

Carver, a sole practitioner in a rural area, is not currently practicing law, according to the consent judgment.

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