Criminal Justice

Ex-lawyer who used his firm’s credit card to start new firm gets probation

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Updated and corrected: A disbarred Missouri lawyer has been placed on four years of probation after a guilty finding in a bench trial in which he was accused of using his former law firm’s credit card to start a new law firm.

James A. Clampitt was put on probation last Thursday, Missouri Lawyers Weekly (sub. req.) reports. Prosecutors said Clampitt left his old firm—Brett, Erdel, Owings & Tanzey—in July 2010 and used its credit card to start a new law firm with his father.

Judge Terry Tschannen of Chariton County also ordered Clampitt to perform 50 hours of community service and to take a financial management class, the story says. Clampitt received a suspended imposition of sentence, and he will not receive a technical conviction for a felony if he successfully completes the probation term, according to Nanci Gonder, press secretary for the Missouri Attorney General’s office. If he violates probation, he faces up to four years in the Department of Corrections, Gonder told the ABA Journal.

Prosecutor Monty Platz told the court that Clampitt had tendered a $6,700 money order to repay the former firm, which requested leniency.

Clampitt was disbarred in May 2013 after he was sentenced to two years in prison for a June 2010 accident in which the SUV he was driving struck and killed a man on a riding lawnmower. Clampitt was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident, the story says, citing a January 2013 article by the Mexico Ledger. He began serving his prison sentence in April.

Clampitt was emotional when asked if he wanted to make a statement, according to the Missouri Lawyers Weekly account. “I just want to get home to my family,” Clampitt told Tschannen. “I’m not the same man I was in 2010.”

Updated at 10:30 a.m. to say that Clampitt was placed on probation rather than sentenced to probation. Updated at 12:20 p.m. to include information from the Missouri Attorney General’s office. Updated at 4:45 p.m. to state that there was a guilty finding in a bench trial.

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