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Bar suspends Blacksburg lawyer

VSB respThe Virginia State Bar moved swiftly to suspend the law license of a Blacksburg lawyer who was found not guilty by reason of insanity of drug and gun charges this month.

The action against lawyer Joseph G. Painter Jr. came a little more than a week after his court hearing in the case involving a Christiansburg incident, reports The Roanoke Times.

The Dec. 20 suspension was on “impairment” grounds, according to a news release from the VSB.

Painter, 66, was arrested Feb. 26 after police received a call about a possible fight between a man and a woman in a car in Christiansburg, according to previous testimony. After officers located the car in a motel parking lot, a passenger in the vehicle, who is a former client of Painter, also was arrested.

On Dec. 9, Painter was found not guilty by reason of insanity of charges of distribution of a Schedule IV controlled substance and three counts of selling or giving a firearm to a convicted felon.

He was scheduled to soon be transferred to a mental health hospital to remain in custody until doctors determine he can be reintegrated with the community. But Painter still was incarcerated on Monday at Western Virginia Regional Jail, according to online records, the paper reported.

VSB rules allow summary suspension based on documentary evidence that a lawyer has been determined by a court to have an impairment or that a lawyer has been involuntarily admitted to a hospital for treatment of any “addiction, inebriety, insanity or mental illness.” Impairment suspensions are indefinite in length, but may be terminated if a court determines the impairment has ended.

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