The Sixth District Committee of the Virginia State Bar has issued a public admonition to Caroline County Commonwealth’s Attorney Anthony G. Spencer for talking to a defendant who was represented by counsel without advising him of his right to have counsel present.
Spencer has appealed the citation, and a hearing before the VSB Disciplinary Board is set for April 22 in Richmond.
According to the findings of fact from the committee, Thomas Reynolds III was being held in Rappahannock Regional Jail on a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon in April 2008.
Reynolds was represented by counsel on that charge. He also was a defendant in a civil matter on allegations that he had forged a will.
Accompanied by a deputy sheriff, Spencer interviewed Reynolds at the jail and spoke to him about both the civil matter and the criminal case. Spencer did not offer Reynolds to have counsel present, although he knew that Reynolds was represented in both the civil and criminal matters, according to the findings of fact.
The VSB also alleged that Spencer had violated Rules of Professional Conduct related to fairness to opposing party and counsel, intending to disrupt a tribunal and responsibilities that apply specifically to prosecutors, but the committee found those allegations had not been proved.
According to court records, Reynolds subsequently was sentenced to two years in prison on the firearm charge.
He also was indicted for forging the will, but that charge was withdrawn by the prosecution.
Spencer did not respond to an e-mail and a phone message requesting comment on the case.