Supreme Court Adds 2 Years Back to Lockett's Suspension

The Tennessee Supreme Court has reversed a lower court’s decision and reinstated a Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility hearing panel’s ruling suspending a Knoxville attorney for misconduct. While working at the Knoxville law firm of Kennerly, Montgomery & Finley, William S. Lockett Jr. received payments for legal services and failed to remit those payments to the firm as required by his employment agreement. Lockett pleaded guilty to theft and to willful failure to file income tax returns. The Chancery Court of Knox County had reduced the original four-year suspension to two years. In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court reversed that decision, holding that the chancery court failed to base its discipline modification on any of the criteria set forth in Supreme Court Rule 9, section 1.3. The court conducted its own review of the hearing panel’s decision and agreed that the four-year suspension was consistent with sanctions imposed on other attorneys for similar criminal conduct. Read more from the Supreme Court