Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Site Map | Feedback
24674 - In the Matter of Kenneth W. Thornton

Davis Adv. Sh. No. 24
S.E. 2d

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

In The Supreme Court

In the Matter of Kenneth W. Thornton, Respondent.

Opinion No. 24674

Heard July 9, 1997 - Filed August 11, 1997

INDEFINITE SUSPENSION

Attorney General Charles Molony Condon and Assistant Deputy

Attorney General J. Emory Smith, Jr., both of Columbia, for

complainant.

Kenneth W. Thornton, pro se.

PER CURIAM: This is an attorney disciplinary matter. Respondent

Kenneth W. Thornton is in default. Respondent has previously been suspended for six

months for filing a false tax return1 and was recently suspended for failing to comply with

continuing legal education requirements.

In November 1996, respondent was served with a Notice and Complaint. In

January 1997, respondent was also served with a Notice and Supplemental Complaint.

Respondent did not file an answer to either complaint. On February 20, 1997, the Board

notified respondent that he was in default but that he could still be heard in mitigation.

Respondent did not respond. The Interim Review Committee concluded that a hearing

was unnecessary and voted by 6 to 1 that respondent be indefinitely suspended. One

member voted to disbar respondent.

Under the Rules on Disciplinary Procedure, respondent is in default and is

deemed to have admitted all allegations in the two complaints served upon him. Rule 413,

SCACR. See In re Fennell, _ S.C. _, 477 S.E.2d 706 (1996). The complaints allege

respondent violated Rules 8.4 and 413, § 5 (E). In re Davis, 279 S.C. 532, 309 S.E.2d __________________________

1In re Thornton, 314 S.C. 301, 443 S.E.2d 905 (1994).

p51

IN THE MATTER OF THORNTON

5 (1983), the Court held "[w]here an attorney is in default because of his failure to

respond to a Complaint in a disciplinary proceeding, the facts and charges set forth in the

Complaint are deemed admitted, and the only duty of the Panel is to make a

recommendation of the appropriate sanction." (emphasis added).2 Accordingly, the

charges of misconduct against respondent are deemed admitted and we must determine

only the appropriate sanction.

It is ordered that Respondent be indefinitely suspended from the practice of

law in this State. Respondent shall file an affidavit with the Clerk of Court within fifteen

days of the date of the filing of this opinion, in compliance with Paragraph 30 of Rule

413, SCACR.

INDEFINITE SUSPENSION. __________________________

2The complaints also allege respondent was found in contempt by the family court judge

for failing to pay child support and alimony as ordered, transferring property in violation of

an order, and falsely testifying. Since respondent is in default and the misconduct charges

in the complaint are deemed admitted, we need not address whether an attorney can be

disciplined solely on the ground of a civil contempt finding for failure to pay child support.

See In re Mixson, 258 S.C. 408, 189 S.E.2d 12 (1972).

p52