On Tuesday, December 26, 2023, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility recommended that attorney Sonya N. Armfield be immediately suspended from the practice of law.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Sonya N. Armfield,” with case no. 23-BD-043.

In a report, the hearing committee found that Armfield had violated conditions placed on her practice back in December 2022 related to an ongoing disciplinary matter. That matter alleges Armfield misappropriated funds from two wards under her legal guardianship and faces charges of intentional misappropriation, commingling, failing to maintain records, and interference with the administration of justice.

When Armfield asserted she suffered from physical and mental disabilities during the alleged misconduct, the Board imposed nine conditions for her to continue practicing law, including continuing mental health treatment, submitting to audits of her practice and trust accounts, and withdrawing from any current probate or estate matters.

However, the recent hearing was convened after the Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed a motion in September 2023 claiming Armfield had violated several conditions. At a hearing on November 7, 2023, Disciplinary Counsel presented evidence that Armfield failed to schedule a complete audit of her practice as required, did not provide complete trust account records to auditors, and took on new probate matters without notification, in violation of conditions.

Most notably, the report found that on November 2, 2023, Armfield sent a one-sentence email withdrawing her prior consent for Disciplinary Counsel to access her medical records, a violation of conditions requiring oversight of her mental health treatment. Armfield did not appear at the November hearing to contest the allegations and later requested a delay until 2024 based on an unspecified accommodation request. The committee denied the request, proceeding in the interest of public protection.

In its December 26 report, the committee’s findings were supported by the Board, which affirmed that the Disciplinary Counsel had established violations by a greater weight of evidence. Additionally, the Board emphasized the need for immediate suspension because Armfield had failed to comply with measures aimed at safeguarding the public during her disciplinary proceedings. The case now awaits a final decision from the D.C. Court of Appeals.

The recommendation states:

“For the foregoing reasons, and for those set forth in the attached Hearing Committee Report and Recommendation, which we adopt by reference, the Board recommends that the Court conclude that Respondent is incapacitated from continuing to practice law and immediately suspend her. We further recommend that the Court’s suspension order refer Respondent to the obligations of a suspended attorney set forth in D.C. Bar. R. XI, *14.”

According to lawyersjustia.com, Ms. Armfield attended the Howard University School of Law, graduating in 1999. She acquired her law license in the District of Columbia in 2007.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.