Davis Adv. Sh. No. 30
In The Supreme Court
In the Matter of Joel
Bethea Floyd, Respondent.
Opinion No. 24707
Submitted October 13, 1997 - Filed October 27, 1997
Attorney General Charles M. Condon and Senior
Assistant Attorney General James G. Bogle, Jr., of
Columbia, for Complainant.
John A. O'Leary, of Columbia, for Respondent.
PER CURIAM: In this attorney disciplinary matter,
respondent and Disciplinary Counsel have entered into an agreement
under Rule 21, RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR. In the agreement, respondent
admits misconduct and consents to be suspended from the practice of law
for twelve months, retroactive to the date of his interim suspension. We
accept the agreement.
On September 5, 1996, respondent was indicted in Florence
County for distribution of heroin, possession of heroin with intent to
distribute, possession of heroin, and possession of a controlled substance
with intent to distribute. On March 25, 1997, respondent pled guilty to
possession of heroin and was sentenced to two years' imprisonment and
fined $5,000, suspended upon the service of ninety days' house arrest and
payment of a $1,000 fine, with three years' probation.
On April 16, 1997, respondent waived presentment of an
indictment in Clarendon County, and pled guilty to knowingly and
intentionally acquiring or obtaining possession of a controlled substance,
pursuant to a prescription authorized by one medical doctor, withholding
from that doctor the fact that he was obtaining a controlled substance of
like use in a concurrent time period from another medical doctor. See S.C.
Code § 44-53-395 (A)(3)(Supp. 1985). Respondent was sentenced to two
years' imprisonment and fined $2,000, suspended upon the service of sixty
days' house arrest, and three years' probation.
Possession of heroin is a crime of moral turpitude. In re
Gibson, 302 S.C. 12, 393 S.E.2d 184 (1990). A violation of § 44-53-
395(A)(3) is a serious crime as defined in Rule 2(z), RLDE, since it
includes, as a necessary element, misrepresentation, fraud and deceit. The
commission of these crimes constitutes a violation of Rule 8.4(a)(violation
of the Rules of Professional Conduct). The violation of § 44-53-395(A)(3) is
also a violation of Rule 8.4(d)(engaging in conduct involving dishonesty,
fraud, deceit or misrepresentation). This misconduct is grounds for
discipline under Rules 7(a)(1)(violation of the Rules of Professional
Conduct) and 7(a)(4)(conviction of a crime of moral turpitude or a serious
In our opinion, respondent's misconduct warrants a definite
suspension from the practice of law for twelve months, retroactive to June
19, 1997, the date of his interim suspension. Within fifteen days of the
date of this opinion, respondent shall file an affidavit with the Clerk of
Court showing that he has complied with Rule 30, RLDE.