State Supreme Court Suspends Hinesville Lawyer; Dissenting Justices Say Tougher Punishment Warranted for Violations

Article excerpt

Byline: BRIAN BASINGER, The Times-Union

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Supreme Court voted 5-2 Monday to suspend Hinesville lawyer David Hammock from practicing law for the next two years after finding he violated professional conduct codes three times.

In the first case, a client in a divorce case was found in contempt of court after Hammock failed to notify the client of a court order requiring the client to make support payments to his ex-wife.

In the second case, Hammock was paid $450 to obtain a name change for another client's son. However, Hammock failed to publicize the name change in a local paper as required by law, leading the client to file a grievance with the State Bar of Georgia.

In the third case, Hammock failed to take action in a personal injury lawsuit before the statute of limitations expired. The court also found Hammock failed to show up for a pre-trial hearing, resulting in the dismissal of the entire case.

Still, things could have been worse for Hammock.

Two of the state Supreme Court's seven justices argued in a dissenting opinion that his past disciplinary problems combined with the current violations should have resulted in a total disbarment instead of a temporary suspension.

Justices Carol Hunstein and Hugh Thompson pointed out that Hammock's prior disciplinary record includes a suspension in 2000 for failing to respond to a previous disciplinary notice, as well as several other reprimand's for conduct code violations in 1992 and 1998. …

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