PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – The Virginia State Bar has suspended the law license of Matthew Taylor Morris for a second time, after he prosecuted cases as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney while his license was suspended the first time.
The bar’s reprimand of Morris stated the chain reaction of events began last summer when he failed to pay the annual dues.
Documents show that the state bar sent Matthew Taylor Morris a statement for annual dues last June. They typically run about $300. The bar then sent him a past due notice in August, but there was still no response. Morris’s license was suspended in October.
WAVY reached out to Morris to see what happened, but he has not responded. According to the bar’s findings, Morris told them “his house is a mess,” “there is mail everywhere” and that a “family member might have received the mail.”
Morris said he didn’t know the money was due, even though he had been a member of the bar for 10 years at that point.
But at the center of the controversy is the fact that Morris kept prosecuting cases as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Portsmouth. The bar said he appeared in 82 cases in a four-week period with a suspended law license, a violation of the bar’s rules of professional conduct.
The reprimand document stated Morris did not believe the judges on those cases were aware of what was going on.
Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales would not comment on a personnel matter, but her spokesperson said in a statement that, “in the matter of any potential case irregularities, this office remains committed to participating with any corrective process should it become necessary or desired by impacted parties.”
On March 24, the Virginia State Bar suspended Morris’s law license a second time, effective April 24, for a period of six months.