The Florida Supreme Court recently disciplined 19 attorneys, including a former state attorney, the Florida Bar Association announced on May 31.
Former State Attorney Jeffrey Siegmeister received permanent disciplinary revocation, which involves agreeing to surrender his license rather than contesting the disciplinary charges, according to the association’s senior communications coordinator Leslie Smith.
Siegmeister pleaded guilty on Feb. 22 to four felonies—including conspiracy, extortion, fraud, and filing a false 2015 tax return, the first of three years for which that charge had been filed—while he was the elected prosecutor for a seven-county area, according to a Feb. 23 news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Jacksonville.
The former North Florida state attorney is facing a “maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit extortion and wire fraud, five years in federal prison for conspiring to use a facility of commerce for bribery and extortion, and three years in federal prison for filing a false tax return,” according to the office.
It added that Siegmeister had agreed to forfeit almost $519,000, along with more than 7,300 shares of Coca-Cola Company common stock.
Smith said of the 19 attorneys who were disciplined, nine were suspended, six had their licenses revoked, one was reprimanded, and three were disbarred.
Among the 19 attorneys who were disciplined, Gainesville’s Michael Meadors received “permanent disciplinary revocation.”
Meadors was charged with one count of sexual battery and 21 counts of promoting and possessing a sexual performance by a child, Smith said.
According to St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office records, Meadors, 68, was charged with sexually assaulting a child under the age of 12.
The arrest report said the victim was the child of a “family friend.”
At the time of his arrest, the Florida Bar Association had listed Meadors as a “member in good standing and eligible to practice law in the state of Florida.”
The Florida Bar Association has strict guidelines and disciplinary procedures, Smith said.
“Disbarred lawyers may not re-apply for admission for five years,” Smith said. “They are required to go through an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the Bar exam.”
She said that attorneys who are suspended for 91 days or longer must “undergo a rigorous process” in order to regain their licenses.
“This includes proving rehabilitation,” she wrote. “Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment.”
The Florida Bar Association has more than 110,000 members.
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