TALLAHASSEE (Florida Record) — Longtime Jacksonville attorney Earl Mayberry Johnson Jr. has been disbarred following a Nov. 18 Florida Supreme Court order over allegations he continued to practice law while under suspension, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.
"Johnson was suspended by the court beginning Aug. 12 but he failed to notify his clients of his suspension and failed to file a complete and accurate affidavit as required," the state bar said in its Nov. 26 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. "He also continued to practice law after being suspended."
In its two-page order, state Supreme Court granted the state bar's petition for contempt and order to show cause and, as a sanction, disbarred Johnson effective immediately. The court also ordered him to pay $1,250 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 Johnson's disbarment. Attorneys disbarred in Florida generally cannot reapply for admission for five years and must pass an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam.
Johnson was admitted to the bar in Florida on July 19, 1994.
More than three years passed before Johnson took any action in the post-conviction matter and "there was a deplorable lack of communication" between Johnson and his client, a referee's report filed in the disciplinary proceedings said.
Johnson's suspension became effective Aug. 12.
That same day, Johnson filed a motion in Orange County Circuit Court.
"At no time did [Johnson] inform the Orange County Circuit Court, or any of the parties, including his client, that he had been suspended from the practice of law," the state bar's petition said.
The state bar alleges Johnson failed to respond to its enquiries except for an auto-email reply that indicated he was on medical leave until late August.
Johnson's auto-email reply did not indicate that he was suspended and he provided no proof that he alerted clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of his suspension, although he'd been given 30 days to do so, according to the state bar's petition.