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Joe Neal Jr. accepts federal court suspension

Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 9:37 AM
Last updated Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 12:35 AM
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Lawyer Joe Neal Jr. has decided not to challenge a legal effort that stopped him from practicing law in federal court.

Instead, Neal will accept the suspension from U.S. District Judges Dudley Bowen Jr. and Randal Hall for the next two years or until his probation is completed. Neal was sentenced to three years of probation in June for three misdemeanor charges related to sexual assault accusations from a teenage baby sitter.

Neal had contested the suspension in U.S. District Court, saying he was not provided due process or a detailed basis for the judges’ action. The judges disagreed, both in court and through their June 22 order, stating that an attorney accused of rape and performing community service at a sewage treatment plant was “anathemic to the image and expectations of conduct for attorneys practicing in this court.”

To maintain fairness, they ordered an assistant U.S. attorney to prepare a list on behalf of the bar of the U.S. Southern District of Georgia detailing Neal’s questionable conduct. The document repeated the facts from the Richmond County Superior Court criminal case, which said Neal and his ex-wife, Caroline Neal, forced an 18-year-old woman to engage in sex with them after drinking wine and smoking marijuana.

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

Neal was scheduled for a hearing Tuesday to respond to that document, but he decided last week to accept the suspension.

If he applies for reinstatement, he must meet all the requirements for admission set out in the local rules of the court. He must also “clearly demonstrate at that time that he is a proper and deserving person to enjoy the privileges of an attorney at law authorized to practice in this court.”

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Dixieman
12898
Points
Dixieman 10/16/12 - 11:40 am
2
2
Still waiting

for Georgia to disbar/suspend him. What's up with that??
I am still not sure he deserves to be suspended/disbarred, because what he did had NOTHING to do with his conduct or abilities as a lawyer. Unpopular and immoral, yes, but if we started refusing to let people do their work because of what they do in their private lives the economy (and the government) would grind to a halt pretty fast.

my.voice
4654
Points
my.voice 10/16/12 - 12:12 pm
4
0
Dixieman, You cannot separate

Dixieman,
You cannot separate the two. This guy didn't run a traffic light for goodness sake. The car insurance industry makes its rate decisions on my personal credit, so how can we not argue that this guys "credit" should not be reviewed? This kind of "personal" behavior as you call it does and will affect him professionally.

realitycheck09
307
Points
realitycheck09 10/16/12 - 12:47 pm
2
3
My Voice...

He gave marijuana to a girl and had sex with her. I'm not sure what it was that was so awful that he should be disbarred or really even suspended. If people get past their puritanical outrage (and their happiness that it's a lawyer in trouble), this really shouldn't move their meter.

Riverman1
79275
Points
Riverman1 10/16/12 - 04:03 pm
0
0
30 Seconds.

30 Seconds.

my.voice
4654
Points
my.voice 10/16/12 - 05:26 pm
2
0
So i guess folks who forcibly

So i guess folks who forcibly rape a woman are also just having sex? Please.

Dixieman
12898
Points
Dixieman 10/16/12 - 09:56 pm
0
0
Yes you can separate them

Suppose the best brain surgeon in the world was gay or an habitual traffic offender or seduced his partner's wife and you needed brain surgery? I know what choice I would make...same thing with a lawyer, engineer or anyone else. How good are they at their jobs?
I would disbar O'Neal in a heartbeat if he stole money from a client or neglected a case or for other offenses committed in the course of practicing law, but not for his personal life.
Puritanism has no place in professional discipline.

just an opinion
2351
Points
just an opinion 10/16/12 - 10:24 pm
2
0
Lawyers need ethics training.

It's just hard to teach this stuff. Many lawyers will say and do anything for money.

shrimp for breakfast
5422
Points
shrimp for breakfast 10/17/12 - 02:17 am
1
0
The difference between a lawyer and a flounder

One is a scum sucking bottom dweller and the other one is a fish.

bill cass
133
Points
bill cass 10/17/12 - 05:55 am
0
0
Personal conduct counts

As a lawyer, I can assure you that lawyers are disciplined all the time for their "personal" conduct. Imagine if a lawyer robbed a bank. Would they be disbarred? Of course they would, and rightfully so. In the monthly Georgia Bar Journal they list all the lawyers disciplined that month, and you frequently see lawyers suspended or disbarred for drug convictions. I am not saying whether Mr. Neal should or should not be suspended, but to say his personal conduct should have nothing do with it is simply incorrect.

Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 10/17/12 - 08:39 am
0
0
Lawyer Ethics

So you all are saying that it is ok for a lawyer named Joe Neal Jr., to smoke dope, give alcohol to minors, and rape females but not your average Joe that lives in South Augusta?

*edited to add the alcohol part, since she was a minor, thank you JRC2024 for saying that in your post.

JRC2024
7944
Points
JRC2024 10/17/12 - 08:07 am
1
0
Was she of legal age for sex.

Was she of legal age for sex. I think so. Was she of leagal age to drink. I don"t think so. Was she of leagal age to smoke marijuana. No, it's illegal. He and his wife were both guilty of giving alcohol to a minor and smoking but not rape. He should be diciplined because he does know what the law is and is a representative of the court in all his affairs.

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