Tuesday, 23 January 2018 12:49

Documents tie Whitmore to disbarred attorney

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Documents filed by the North Carolina State Bar show a relationship between a disbarred attorney and a man who is scheduled for trial in February in the December 2014 traffic death of a Roanoke Rapids woman.

State court records show Marquis Whitmore has a February 5 court date in the death of Leslie Fishel where he is expected to be tried for crimes associated with the crash which claimed her life at the intersection of Becker Drive and East Tenth Street. Multiple sources familiar with the case have indicated the trial is expected to proceed.

Whitmore remains incarcerated in the state Department of Public Safety on a series of drug charges which landed him a sentence of two years and three months. His projected release date is in April.

It was a relationship with Gregory L. Perry as his attorney which was one of the factors in the disbarment of the Halifax County attorney, who in March of last year surrendered his license to practice law pending a complaint against him before the Disciplinary Hearing Commission of the North Carolina State Bar.

In the 2017 documents regarding Perry’s disbarment Whitmore was never mentioned by name.

It was the bar’s complaint against Perry filed in October of 2016 which mentioned a relationship going beyond that of an attorney and client.

The bar sought three claims of relief against Perry, according to the complaint.

 

First claim

The first claim for relief dates back to December of 2013 when two of Perry’s clients were on the criminal calendar in Halifax County Superior Court and Perry did not appear or notify the court of his whereabouts. He was convicted of two counts of criminal contempt for failing to appear.

 

Second claim

Whitmore is named in the second claim for relief, the document noting Perry began representing the now 29-year-old Halifax County man in 2013, a man who the complaint states, “had a long history of drug-related charges and convictions on charges of possession of cocaine.”

In the fall of 2014, Whitmore’s phone was seized and examined by law enforcement in connection with another drug-related investigation.

Whitmore’s phone contained numerous text messages exchanged with Perry. “In text messages sent during September, October and November 2014, Perry made inquiries about purchasing heroin, marijuana and ‘pills’ from Whitmore. In these text messages Perry solicited Whitmore to engage in the criminal acts of possessing, delivering and/or selling controlled substances,” the complaint says.

These text messages were sent, according to the complaint, at a time when Perry represented Whitmore on drug-related charges. “Perry continued representing Whitmore despite the conflict of interest created by the fact that he was simultaneously soliciting Whitmore to engage in criminal acts.”

In February of 2015, Perry made false statements to a state bar investigator he didn’t have a personal relationship with Whitmore and he never tried to obtain controlled substances from him.

Other false statements, the complaint says, were that Perry’s fiancee did not have a cell phone during the period of time the relevant texts with Whitmore were exchanged and that his fiancee regularly used his cell phone and was the one who sent the text messages to Whitmore about acquiring drugs.

 

Third claim

The third claim for relief deals with Perry’s former fiancee, who had been appointed separate counsel in May of 2015 for larceny and breaking and entering.

From May 2 to May 4 of that year Perry visited his fiancee in the jail four different times. He attempted to visited her at 3:30 a.m. on May 2 but was denied entry because inmates were sleeping. “Each time Perry appeared at the jail he represented to jail officials that he was (his fiancee’s) attorney in order to gain access (to her). Perry’s attempt to access the jail at 3:30 a.m. was so out of the ordinary that jail personnel generated an incident report memorializing the event.”

When the sheriff learned about the attempted visit and that Perry falsely claimed representation of his fiancee, he reported the matter to the state bar. “Perry asserted that he had persuaded the (assistant district attorney) to dismiss (his fiancee’s) May 2015 charges by presenting him with a statement from the victim indicating she did not object to dismissal,” the complaint said. “This statement was false: The ADA  dealt exclusively with (the fiancee’s) appointed counsel and did not have any communication with Perry regarding dismissal of the May 2015 charges.”

Last March Perry signed an affidavit of surrender of his law license.

In the affidavit he acknowledged he was aware of the pending complaint he was convicted of contempt of court, attempted to acquire controlled substances from a client he represented on drug charges, misled jail officials in an effort to gain access to an inmate and deceptive in response to inquiries from the state bar.

“I acknowledge that the material facts upon which the pending complaint is predicated are true,” he said in the affidavit. “I am submitting my resignation because I know that I could not successfully defend against the pending disciplinary charges.”

 

 

 

 

 





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