On Wednesday, September 6, 2023, the Supreme Court of Georgia issued a ruling granting Samuel Elias Skelton certification of fitness for readmission to the practice of law. Skelton, a former attorney who had been disbarred in 2017, has now been given a new opportunity to reenter the legal profession

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Samuel Elias Skelton,” case no. S23Z1032.

Skelton had originally been admitted to the practice of law in 2009, but he voluntarily surrendered his license following his guilty pleas to 21 counts of theft by taking on January 25, 2017.  Piedmont Judicial Circuit Senior Judge Stephen E. Boswell sentenced Skelton to serve 10 years and pay a $500 fine on Count 1, and an additional 10 years each on Counts 2-21, to be served concurrently with Count 1, as per Banks County court documents.

According to the court document, Skelton completed his sentence and was discharged in December 2021. He claimed that his guilty plea was a result of his mental health and addiction issues.

In July 2022, Skelton filed an application for certification of fitness to practice law, asserting that he had undergone rehabilitation and was ready to resume his legal career. He submitted letters of recommendation from 40 lawyers and non-lawyers who attested to his potential to become a productive member of the Bar.

The Board to Determine Fitness of Bar Applicants reviewed Skelton’s application and held an informal conference, where Skelton took full responsibility for his actions and expressed remorse. The Board concluded that Skelton had demonstrated rehabilitation and recommended that he be readmitted to the Bar.

In view of the foregoing facts and discussion, the Supreme Court of Georgia reviewed Skelton’s application and testimony and agreed that he had shown that he was entitled to be certified as fit to practice law in Georgia.

The Court granted Skelton’s application for certification of fitness and ordered that he may be readmitted as an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia upon satisfaction of all the requirements of Part B of the Rules, including taking and passing the Georgia Bar Examination.

All the Justices concurred with the decision.

Prior to his conviction, Mr. Samuel Elias Skelton worked at the Piedmont Circuit District Attorney’s Office as assistant district attorney. He attended the University of Georgia School of Law, and he has been licensed to practice in Georgia.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.