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Timeline: Joe Morrissey history

Timeline: Joe Morrissey history

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Morrissey has been grabbing headlines since he was elected Richmond commonwealth’s attorney in 1989. Here's a history.

July 1990: Virginia State Bar orders Morrissey to attend an ethics course after a former client complains that a personal injury suit was mishandled.

September 1990: Virginia State Bar committee clears Morrissey of seven allegations that he says concerned his conduct as a defense lawyer and commonwealth’s attorney-elect.

July 1991: He is convicted of contempt in Richmond General District Court, fined $50 and sentenced to 10 days in jail after writing a critical letter to a substitute judge.

December 1991: Morrissey gets into a courthouse fistfight with defense attorney David P. Baugh. He later serves five days in jail for contempt of court.

June 1993: Morrissey is indicted on five felony charges, including bribery, perjury and misuse of public funds, four days before the primary for the Democratic nomination for commonwealth’s attorney. He is defeated in the primary by attorney David M. Hicks, who wins the seat in November. After the primary, Morrissey is suspended —– and reinstated — from the prosecutor’s office several times.

August 1993: A jury acquits Morrissey of the three bribery charges, and the other two charges are ultimately dismissed.

December 1993: Morrissey’s law license is suspended for six months when a three-judge panel rules he violated legal ethics with his handling of a rape case.

February 1998: A U.S. District judge sentences Morrissey to 90 days in jail and suspends him from practicing in federal court for two years for breaking court rules by talking to reporters about a drug case.

October 1999: A jury convicts Morrissey of assault and battery and fines him $2,500 for beating Garien H. Wycoff in a Richmond backyard July 3. One week later, Wycoff files a lawsuit against Morrissey for $1.3 million.

November 1999: Morrissey files a lawsuit against Wycoff, Ann Marie Wycoff and Johanna Wycoff, alleging they conspired to damage Morrissey’s professional reputation by lying about him in court. Morrissey drops the lawsuit in January 2001.

February 2000: Federal prosecutors accuse Morrissey, a defense attorney at the time, of trying to fake completion of community service hours, which were part of his 1998 U.S. District Court sentence for contempt of court.

March 2000: A three-judge panel for the State Bar suspends Morrissey from practicing law for three years. The judges find that he violated disciplinary rules for lawyers in the Virginia Code of Professional Responsibility.

September 2000: A federal judge orders Morrissey jailed for 90 days for violating probation on his 1998 contempt conviction. In August 2000, the judge convicted Morrissey of violating his probation. The judge determined that Morrissey lied when he denied attempting to bribe a Habitat for Humanity construction supervisor to falsely state that Morrissey had completed his community service.

December 2001: A panel of U.S. District Court judges bars Morrissey from practicing law in federal court due to his frequent episodes of unethical and disobedient conduct.

Spring 2006: Morrissey returns to Richmond after teaching and studying in Dublin, Ireland, in 2001 and teaching trial advocacy to prosecutors in Sydney, Australia, in 2003. He is denied admittance to the Australian bar.

April 2012: The Virginia Supreme Court reinstates Morrissey’s law license. The court votes 4-3, despite the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board’s unanimous recommendation against Morrissey’s petition.

June 2014: Morrissey is indicted by a special grand jury in Henrico on four felony counts and a misdemeanor charging him with sexually abusing a minor over whom he had a custodial relationship - a receptionist in his law office. Those charges carried up to 41 years in prison.

December 2014: Morrissey enters an Alford plea to a single misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and is sentenced to 12 months in jail, with six months suspended. By entering an Alford plea, Morrissey does not admit wrongdoing but acknowledges that the prosecution had enough evidence to convict him. He served three months, spending nights in jail while representing his district in the legislature during the day.

January 2015: Morrissey is charged by a grand jury with felony charges of perjury, uttering a forged document, conspiracy and inducing false testimony.

April 2015: A circuit court judge in Henrico dismisses the January 2015 charges, ruling that the December 2014 plea agreement precluded new perjury-related counts.

September 2015: After an appeal by a special prosecutor, the Virginia Court of Appeals upholds the dismissal of four felony charges.

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