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Lawyer ordered to anger management gets additional penalty

A Virginia lawyer who was ordered to take an anger management class has had an additional six months tacked on to his license suspension time because his class did not meet the requirements of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board.

Jason Roper made unprofessional remarks in a deposition, according to a judge’s findings, and admitted writing a taunting email to another lawyer facing federal fraud charges in 2012.

His sarcastic remarks got the attention of VSB lawyers, but the five-member discipline panel that heard the case last year agreed to let Roper off with a public reprimand if he verified completion of an anger management class “which must be a non-internet, classroom-type course acceptable to the Bar.”

Roper reportedly missed the board’s deadline. Two days before a show cause hearing, he provided proof of anger management counseling, but it was not in a classroom type setting as required, according to assistant bar counsel M. Brent Saunders.

On March 28, the Disciplinary Board imposed the alternative sanction of an additional six-month suspension, which extends an earlier three-year suspension for litigation misconduct.

Roper last practiced in Pennsylvania, but his license in that state is suspended based on the Virginia discipline, according to online records.

Another Virginia lawyer accepted a nine-month suspension last month after he acknowledged failing to help a client as promised and failing to respond to a bar complaint.

Douglas E. Mataconis agreed to represent a Prince William County couple who hoped to block construction on a nearby residential development, according to an agreed statement of facts.

Despite exchanging information on how to proceed for more than a year, Mataconis never completed a promised letter of protest to the county board, nor did he provide any substantive assistance with the couple’s effort, according to the statement.

Moreover, Mataconis acknowledged he never responded when the VSB sent notice of the clients’ bar complaint.

After receiving the stipulation of evidence and hearing from both the bar and Mataconis, the Disciplinary Board panel proposed the nine-month suspension, according to assistant bar counsel Prescott L. Prince. Mataconis agreed to the suspension.

Mataconis is a prolific contributor on the blog “Outside the Beltway,” described as an online journal of politics and foreign affairs analysis.

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