PORTSMOUTH – 10 On Your Side told you last week that a Portsmouth prosecutor kept handling cases for the city even after his license had been suspended, but a more recent suspension is the result of other violations of the Virginia Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct.
The latest suspension for Portsmouth Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew Taylor Morris begins in one week, and he has to get the word out by certified mail. The Virginia Bar has required him to notify clients and opposing attorneys that he violated the rules of professional conduct.
Documents show this latest suspension resulted from several issues. Morris was found in civil contempt of court 13 months ago for twice bringing a gun into the Virginia Beach courthouse.
That same month, he failed to appear for a 9:30 a.m. court hearing, instead showing up at 1 o’clock that afternoon.
Morris told Circuit Court Judge Stephen Mahan that he slept through his alarm and it “wasn’t the first time this had happened.”
Morris told Mahan that he may be “bordering on being unfit to be an attorney.” Mahan suspended Morris from appearing in any criminal matter in Virginia Beach Circuit Court.
The state bar also found that Morris told two of his clients that Mahan was trying to keep him from “exposing a web of corruption that runs rampant” with prosecutors, police, and judges.
We first told you last week that Morris’ license was also suspended last fall. It resulted from Morris’s failure to pay annual dues to the Bar, about $300. According to state bar paperwork, Morris was involved with more than 80 cases during that suspension, still representing the city of Portsmouth.
10 On Your Side visited the private practice that’s featured on his website, and someone from a neighboring business said they haven’t seen him there for months. No one came to the door at his home in Virginia Beach, either.
As she did last week, Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales had no comment on Morris’ situation, citing personnel matters.
Her office said last week it “remains committed to participating with any corrective process involving Morris’ cases should it become necessary or desired by the impacted parties.”