On Saturday, August 19, 2023, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals suspended attorney Kenneth Blackwell for non-payment of child support and providing dishonest statements to the child support enforcement authorities.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Kenneth Blackwell,” and was brought by the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel with case no. 22-BG-0565.

The charges against Blackwell stemmed from his failure to adhere to child support obligations and his false statements to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Specifically, Kenneth L. Blackwell faced allegations of non-payment of child support and providing dishonest statements. The case arose when Blackwell neglected to meet child support obligations for his minor child while providing misleading information to child support enforcement authorities. These actions culminated in a total child support arrearage of $62,400. Blackwell’s conduct violated several Rules of the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct, including knowingly disobeying court obligations, making false statements to disciplinary authorities, and engaging in dishonesty.

The specification of charges states:

“On February 9, 2017, Disciplinary Counsel sent a follow-up inquiry asking among other things “If you have not ‘willfully’ failed to make court-ordered child support payments, do you agree that you have failed, however, to make the court-ordered support payments? On February 21, 2017, Respondent replied “No.” As of January 30, 2019, Respondent’s total child support arrearage for D.B. was $62,400 and he had not made a payment to the Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement or the Maryland or District of Columbia child support offices since March 23, 2010.”

In response, Blackwell stated that he had provided a series of admissions, denials, and requests for proof. He acknowledged some aspects of the allegations, such as being engaged in a child custody matter, but denied other parts. Blackwell contested accusations of being legally found guilty of civil contempt and disputed details related to child support payments and actions. He refuted claims of making false statements and violating rules of professional conduct.

In the report and recommendation of the Ad Hoc Hearing Committee, the hearing committee recommended that Blackwell be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one year, with all but 90 days stayed in favor of three years of probation. Blackwell argued for an informal admonition due to mitigating factors. The committee weighed factors like seriousness, prejudice, dishonesty, prior disciplinary history, acknowledgment of misconduct, and mitigation. Blackwell’s actions included disobeying court orders but also facing personal challenges.

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has concluded that a six-month suspension with all but 60 days stayed in favor of three years of probation is within an acceptable range of outcomes for attorney Kenneth Blackwell.

The conclusion states:

“For the foregoing reasons, Mr. Blackwell is suspended from the practice of law in the District of Columbia for six months, with all but 60 days stayed in favor of three years of probation, subject to the conditions recommended by the Board. For purposes of reinstatement, Mr. Blackwell’s suspension will not begin to run until he files an affidavit that fully complies with the requirements of D.C. Bar R. XI,”

Mr. Blackwell practices in Washington, District of Columbia. He is licensed in the District of Columbia. His info can be found on avvo.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.