Legal Ethics

Mississippi prosecuting attorney disbarred for misappropriating client money

The prosecuting attorney of a Mississippi county has been disbarred over ethics complaints that he misappropriated client funds.

Stone County prosecuting attorney Tadd Parsons was disbarred July 28 by a complaint tribunal of the Mississippi Supreme Court after failing to reply to a request for records concerning a client’s funds held in trust and failing to show up for a hearing on the complaint, the Sun Herald and the Associated Press report.

The Mississippi Bar Association had accused Parsons of converting client funds to his own use and owing a third party money that had been paid to him by a client.

“Commingling is the ‘cardinal sin’ of the legal profession, whether or not it is intentional,” presiding Judge Melvin Priester wrote for the tribunal. “The moment a lawyer succumbs to a temptation to appropriate for his own use any of his client’s money entrusted to his safekeeping is the moment he shows his unfitness to be a practicing attorney.”

Parsons claimed he had repaid the money owed to a third party.

But Priester said the “restitution of funds previously misappropriated does not mitigate the offense, especially when the restitution is made under pressure.”

Parsons was a Wiggins Municipal Court prosecutor before he was elected county prosecuting attorney in 2011. He also maintained a private practice in Wiggins.

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