Miami attorney suspended following assault conviction in stand-your-ground case

By Karen Kidd | Mar 1, 2019

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Supreme Court has suspended Miami attorney John Chiarenza for allegedly pointing a gun at another man in a so-called stand-your-ground case, a recent announcement by The Florida Bar and court documents said.

"Chiarenza was convicted by a jury of aggravated assault by possession of a firearm and was sentenced to three years in prison," the state bar said in its Feb. 28 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order.  

Chiarenza, 57, already was suspended, which meant his three-year suspension was effective immediately, according to the state Supreme Court’s single page order. The court also ordered Chiarenza to pay approximately $3,150 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 Chiarenza's suspension.

Chiarenza was admitted to the bar in Florida on July 6, 1990, according to his profile on the state bar website.

In January 2015, a jury in Florida's 11th Judicial Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County found Chiarenza guilty of aggravated assault by possession of a firearm, a third degree felony, and he was sentenced to three years in prison followed by two years probation, according to a report. Chiarenza claimed he was defending himself when he pointed his lawfully carried weapon at another man in August 2012.

Chiarenza, described by the Florida Supreme Court as an attorney "with a respected history of public and community service and no history of violence,"  had been enforcing his condominium parking rules when he issued a ticket for a man's illegally parked car. Chiarenza and the man got "into a verbal and physical tirade that put Chiarenza in reasonable fear for his life and physical safety," that caused Chiarenza to pull his gun, according to the high court's June 2017 decision in the attorney's appeal.

That ended the fray, the decision said. "Chiarenza did not discharge his firearm, no violence ensued and no injury occurred."

Following the appeals process in his case, Chiarenza was imprisoned in June 2017 and currently is being held in the state's medium security facility at Walton Correctional Institution in DeFuniak Springs, according to an online inmate search. Chiarenza's current release date is May 11, 2020.

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