On Friday, October 13, 2023, Kay Hartwell Hunnicutt, a veteran attorney who has been practicing law in Arizona since 1992, received a formal written reprimand from the Presiding Disciplinary Judge of the Supreme Court of Arizona related to a criminal conviction for false tax returns.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Kay Hartwell Hunnicutt,” with case no. PDJ 2021-9069.

The disciplinary proceedings stem from an incident in 2014 where Hunnicutt underreported her income by $115,000 on her Arizona individual tax return for that year. In July 2021, she was charged with three felony counts of filing false tax returns for the years 2013, 2014, and 2015.

As part of a plea agreement reached in February 2023, two of the felony counts were dismissed. Hunnicutt pled guilty to one count of filing a false tax return in 2014, a Class 6 felony, by knowingly filing a return that was false regarding a material matter.

The Maricopa County Superior Court designated the offense a misdemeanor at the time of sentencing in March 2023. Hunnicutt was placed on 30 days of unsupervised probation and ordered to pay various fines and assessments.

Based on her criminal conviction, the State Bar of Arizona initiated disciplinary proceedings against Hunnicutt. In August 2023, she entered into a consent agreement with the Bar to receive a reprimand in exchange for resolving the disciplinary matter.

As part of the agreement, Hunnicutt conditionally admitted to violating certain Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct. On October 13th, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge formally accepted the consent agreement and issued a written reprimand against Hunnicutt.

Mitigating factors considered included Hunnicutt’s clean disciplinary record for over 25 years prior to this incident, as well as personal and medical problems she was experiencing in 2014-2015. However, the criminal conviction was still determined to reflect adversely on her fitness to practice law, warranting public discipline.

Going forward, the reprimand will remain on Hunnicutt’s record but will not prevent her from continuing to practice law.

The Disposition states:

“IT IS ORDERED that Kay Hartwell Hunnicutt, Bar No. 014193, is reprimanded for her conduct in violation of the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct and Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona, as outlined in the consent documents.”

According to avvo.com, Mr. Hunnicutt is an administrative law attorney in Mesa, Arizona. He acquired his law license in Arizona in 1992. 

A copy of the original filing can be found here.