On Friday, June 9, 2023, the Ad Hoc Hearing Committee of the Board on Professional Responsibility, District of Columbia Court of Appeals recommended the suspension of attorney Mary E. Davis for alleged conflict of interest while representing a client in a criminal matter. 

The case is entitled “Ín the Matter of Mary E. Davis,” and was brought by the Disciplinary Counsel with case No. 22-ND-007. 

The charges cited DC Rules of Professional Conduct 1.7(b)(4) and 8.4(d).

Allegedly, Ms. Davis violated rules of professional conduct while representing a client in a criminal matter, specifically related to conflicts of interest and serious interference with the administration of justice. The case in question stemmed from Davis representing a client charged with drug offenses. It was discovered that Davis’s husband, who also acted as her law partner, had entered his appearance as counsel for the defendant. While Davis did not handle the primary representation, she did engage in research, motion preparation, and review of the motions filed by her partner. 

The disciplinary matter arose when the defendant and several co-defendants appealed the denial of their motions to suppress wiretap evidence. Davis, appointed as counsel by the D.C. Circuit, filed an appeal challenging the admissibility of the evidence based on her co-defendants’ wiretaps. However, the appeal was unsuccessful, and the court affirmed the denial of the defendant’s motion to suppress. Throughout the proceedings, Davis failed to address potential conflicts of interest or discuss the possibility of raising ineffective assistance of counsel claim with her client. The D.C. Circuit eventually appointed new counsel for the defendant due to conflicts and concerns about previous representation.

The filing states:

“In representing him on appeal, Respondent did not discuss with Scurry that she had or might have a conflict of interest in representing him given his previous claim that she and her co-counsel had coerced him to plead guilty. As stated above, Respondent claimed she did not recall his motion requesting new counsel because of alleged conflicts and alleged ineffective assistance. (35) Respondent also did not discuss with Scurry that ineffective assistance of counsel claim was a likely and viable way to challenge the voluntary and intelligent nature of his plea.”

In relation to these facts, the Hearing Committee carefully pored over all the collected information including the affidavit submitted by the respondent. In the affidavit, Ms. Davis acknowledged the truthfulness of the material facts and misconduct as reflected in the petition.

After careful scrutiny of the facts and related circumstances, the Hearing Committee has recommended a 30-day suspension against the respondent. 

The Conclusion and Recommendation states:

“For the reasons stated above, it is the recommendation of this Hearing Committee that the negotiated discipline be approved and that the Court impose a thirty-day suspension, fully stayed, with the following conditions: (1) Respondent shall not be the subject of a disciplinary complaint that results in a finding of misconduct in this or any other jurisdiction for the nine-month period following the filing of the charges against her,i.e., from June 21, 2022, and(2) Respondent shall take three hours of continuing legal education courses in legal ethics.”

Ms. Davis practices in Washington, District of Columbia. She is licensed in the District of Columbia with license no. 385583. Her info can be found on avvo.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here