U.S. Attorney's Office outlines reasons for barring Joe Neal Jr. from practicing law

Joe Neal Jr.

A detailed list of the actions that led two judges to bar lawyer Joe Neal Jr. from practicing in federal court was filed Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Savannah.

Neal’s attorney, Tom Withers, requested a summary of the facts two weeks ago at a hearing to contest the decision by U.S. District Judges Dudley Bowen Jr. and Randal Hall. Withers said his client was not given due process or a list of the allegations that would prompt the action by the judges.

The judges disagreed, but to maintain fairness they ordered the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prepare a list of allegations on behalf of the bar of U.S. Southern District of Georgia. The document outlines the criminal case against Neal and his ex-wife, Caroline Neal, which resulted in charges of rape and furnishing alcohol to a person under the age of 21.

In December, an 18-year-old woman who had been a baby sitter for the Neals was invited to their home on Kings Way by Caroline Neal. After drinking and smoking marijuana, Neal “began to importune her to engage in a sexual menage a trois” with him and his wife, the document said.

Her inebriated state “compromised her judgement and significantly impaired her capacity to appraise the nature of the acts you were insisting upon,” the document stated.

The document calls Neal’s actions “predatory” and describes his conduct as “base, depraved, vile, and contrary to the societal norms of decency and honor.”

The rape charge was reduced in June to possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct. Neal also pleaded guilty to the marijuana charge and received three years’ probation. Caroline Neal pleaded guilty to the alcohol charge and was sentenced to one year of probation.

The document states that the crimes involved moral turpitude and as such are “diametrically in opposition to the good character required for continued membership in this Bar.”

To bolster its argument, the document lifts the words of Richmond County Superior Court Judge James Blanchard at sentencing: “It appears that your moral compass is broken.”

At the previous hearing, Bowen said he wanted a second hearing scheduled as soon as possible after the supporting document was filed.

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