By Becky Barnes, Editor
When former Harrison County District Court Judge Wayne W. Fitzgerald entered a guilty plea to theft charges earlier this year, it was just the beginning to the end of his lengthy law career.
Last Thursday in Kentucky Supreme Court, Fitzgerald’s own motion to have himself permanently disbarred was upheld.
Fitzgerald was indicted in Harrison County Circuit Court on March 6, 2012. He entered a guilty plea to the charge of theft by failure to make disposition in June with an Aug. 30 sentencing date.
Fitzgerald, who began practicing law on Sept. 18, 1950, served as an escrow agent or representative payee for Obie Roberts and converted his Social Security benefits to his own use. The charge was that the amount was between $500 and $10,000.
According to information released by the Supreme Court, Fitzgerald was automatically suspended from practicing law on June 12.
“[Fitzgerald] acknowledges that his conduct would warrant a complaint for violations of criminal acts reflecting adversely on a lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer and conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.
The Kentucky Bar Association filed a response agreeing that permanent disbarment is appropriate.
Along with the permanent disbarment, Fitzgerald was given 10 days in which to notify all courts where he has matters pending, as well as any clients, of his inability to continue to represent them in legal matters and that they should retain new counsel. Letters making those notifications should be copied to the Office of the Bar Counsel.
He his also ordered to pay the cost of the court proceeding.