A lawyer has been suspended for six months after allegedly turning up to a seminar intoxicated and proceeding to sleep while snoring loudly, before yelling at a video screen.
US attorney Wayne R. Hartke was suspended for six months and ordered to enrol in a two-year treatment and monitoring program by the Virginia State Bar (VSB) at a hearing on 27 March.
He was accused of being drunk and disruptive at a Continuing Legal Education program last year, with witnesses saying he was off sleeping and loudly snoring during the morning part of the seminar and then yelling at a video screen during the afternoon session.
Another attendee reportedly led him from the seminar room, with an observer saying he smelt of alcohol and had a bottle of liquor among his belongings, according to the ethics charges brought by a disciplinary subcommittee in September last year.
Hartke denied he had been intoxicated in an interview with a VSB investigator, the panel said.
He was ordered to enrol in assessment, referral, monitoring and support programme Lawyers Helping Lawyers for two years and comply with all of the organisation’s terms and conditions.
Any notice of noncompliance would result in an order to show why his license should not be suspended for an additional three years.