Maryland’s highest court has indefinitely suspended the law license of Prince George’s Del. Tiffany Alston for violating the state’s code of conduct for lawyers.
Alston (D-Dist. 24) of Mitchellville faced allegations from the Attorney Grievance Commission that she failed to keep a client reasonably informed about a case, didn’t promptly turn over files and accounting information to the client’s new lawyer after she was fired and didn’t properly maintain a trust account containing the client’s money.
The client filed a complaint with the commission, which filed a formal petition with the Court of Appeals accusing Alston of seven violations of the Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct.
Alston acknowledged the violations in a 2010 agreement with the commission that required her to refund $5,000 of the client’s money, but then did not comply with that agreement, according to the court’s opinion, written by Judge Mary Ellen Barbera.
At one point, Alston “supplied a blanket denial of having committed any ethical violations, despite her acknowledgment of those violations in the [agreement],” Barbera wrote.
The court suspended Alston’s license indefinitely but did not provide a time period after which she could apply for reinstatement.
“We do not wish to imply that merely after a certain period of time has elapsed [Alston] shall be considered favorably for reinstatement,” Barbera wrote.
Alston’s attorney, Raouf M. Abdullah, said that the news was not all bad for his client.
“[The court] concluded that the problems they perceived Ms. Alston had are reparable,” Abdullah said. “Once she’s addressed these concerns she can reapply.”
Alston currently faces unrelated charges that she used campaign money on personal expenses, including wedding costs, and was found guilty in June of misdemeanor theft and misconduct in office for using state funds to pay a clerk at her law practice.
Alston and her legal team are considering a plea agreement that would allow her to avoid a second trial, but had not publicly discussed details of the agreement as of Tuesday afternoon.