Court Opinions

In the Matter of George D. Houser
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (1/22/2013, 1/24/2013) S13Y0373

LEGAL PROFESSION: Voluntary Suspension

Alert: The Supreme Court accepted an attorney's petition for voluntary suspension pending his appeal of several felony convictions.

Subject Matter Index: Petition for voluntary suspension, accepted, pending attorney's appeal of his felony convictions for conspiracy to commit federal healthcare fraud, eight counts of failure to account for and pay employee payroll taxes, and two counts of failure to file personal income taxes, as felony conviction would violate Georgia Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4 (a) (2); Court directed attorney to notify State Bar's Office of General Counsel in writing within 10 days of disposition of appeal.

Headnote: The Supreme Court accepted George D. Houser's petition for voluntary suspension pending his appeal of felony convictions for conspiracy to commit federal healthcare fraud, eight counts of failure to account for and pay employee payroll taxes, and two counts of failure to file personal income taxes, as a felony conviction would violate Georgia Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4 (a) (2). The Court directed Houser to notify the State Bar's Office of General Counsel in writing within 10 days of the disposition of the appeal.

Text: Per Curiam, Other

This disciplinary matter is before the Court on the report and recommendation of the special master, David L. Cannon, Jr., recommending that the Court accept the petition of George D. Houser (State Bar No. 369225) for suspension of his license pending appeal of his felony convictions in the federal district court for the Northern District of Georgia on one count of conspiracy to commit federal healthcare fraud, eight counts of failure to account for and pay employee payroll taxes, and two counts of failure to file personal income taxes. The State Bar had no objection to Houser's petition. It is a violation of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct for a lawyer to be convicted of a felony. Rule 8.4 (a) (2) of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, found in Bar Rule 4-102 (d). The maximum penalty for such conduct is disbarment. Rule 8.4(d).

Having reviewed the record, we agree that the petition should be accepted. Accordingly, the Court hereby accepts the petition and directs that George D. Houser be suspended from the practice of law during the pendency of the appeal of his criminal convictions. See Rule 4-106 of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct. Houser is hereby directed to notify the State Bar's Office of General Counsel in writing within ten days of the disposition of the appeal. Houser is reminded of his duties under Bar Rule 4-219 (c).

Petition for voluntary discipline accepted. Suspension until further order of this Court. All the Justices concur.

Trial Judge: N/A,

Attorneys: Paula J. Frederick, General Counsel, and Jenny K. Mittelman (State Bar of Georgia), Atlanta. George D. Houser, Cedartown. Anthony B. Askew, Chairperson (Review Panel), Atlanta, and David L. Cannon Jr., Solicitor General, Canton.,