Columbia attorney reprimanded for rules violations

cwinston@thestate.comSeptember 25, 2013 

— A Columbia criminal defense attorney was reprimanded Wednesday by the S.C. Supreme Court for violating rules governing professional conduct and discipline enforcement.

Joenathan Shelly Chaplin admitted to not promptly representing a client, charging an unreasonable fee and failing to respond to a disciplinary authority, according to a court document.

Chaplin was paid $10,000 in 2005 by the mother of a man serving 20 years for involuntary manslaughter, in a legal bid to try to get her son’s sentence reduced. Six years later, with the mother’s efforts to file an appeal unsuccessful, a panel of the state disciplinary board ordered Chaplin to repay $7,000 to the mother, according to the court document.

After several discipline notices were unanswered, Chaplin was subpoenaed and appeared before the board in April 2012. He agreed to repay $7,500 and was ordered to begin repayments within 30 days.

But the payments did not start until September 2012, and continued in January, February, March and May of this year. Chaplin paid back $7,500.

In addition to the reprimand, Chaplin also will be forced to pay within 30 days for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel’s investigation and prosecution.

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