On Thursday, August 24, 2023, the Supreme Court of Kentucky publicly reprimanded attorney Shameka Lynn O’Neil after disruptive behavior during a Zoom court appearance.
The case is entitled “Shameka Lynn O’Neil v. Kentucky Bar Association” with case no. 2023-SC-0148-KB.
The charges cited Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct SCR 3.130(3.4)(c) and SCR 3.130(3.5)(d).
O’Neil’s violations stemmed from her disruptive behavior during a Zoom court appearance. She interrupted proceedings, argued with the court, and ultimately left the meeting. O’Neil admitted her misconduct and offered mitigation related to her mood disorder, participation in anger management therapy, and commitment to prescribed medications. The District Court found her in contempt and fined her $500, along with a 90-day imprisonment, conditionally discharged.
The Opinion and Order states:
“As the prosecutor read the terms of the plea agreement into the record, Burns asserted he did not understand that the agreement included a prison term. O’Neil acknowledges she then interrupted the court, spoke directly to her client, and continued to interrupt people who were speaking. O’Neil informed the court that her client needed treatment for mental health issues rather than substance abuse.”
Citing past cases, including Johnson, McAdam, Stutsman, and Lavit, where public reprimands were approved for similar violations, the court found O’Neil’s case appropriate for a public reprimand considering her efforts to address the issue. Counts I and II of the charge were dismissed. The Court ordered a public reprimand for O’Neil, with directions to pay costs, amounting to $919.82.
The Disposition states:
“For the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED: 1. Shameka Lynn O’Neil is publicly reprimanded for the above-described and admitted violations of SCR 3.130(3.4)(c) and SCR 3.130(3.5)(d).”
According to avvo.com, Ms. O’Neil is a criminal defense attorney in Louisville, Kentucky. She acquired her license in Kentucky in 2012.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.