While I have long held that no one can understand the insanity of 15-B District Court until one has experienced it first hand, the same can be said about the North Carolina State Bar's disciplinary process. In my case, the State Bar disbarred me in order to "fix" the outcome of Emily McManaway's lawsuit against Orange County Attorneys Donna Ambler Rice (formerly Davis) and Leigh Peek, because the lawsuit made the North Carolina legal system look bad when Rice and Peek used a phony court order to push an illegal adoption of Ms. McManaway's son through the courts. In his federal complaint against the North Carolina State Bar, Attorney Willie Gilbert also calls for reform:
While the more generalized aspects of this Complaint reveal a need for meaningful checks and balances on the way the North Carolina State Bar exercises its disciplinary power and authority, the more specific allegations expose the abusive and unlawful manner in which the North Carolina State Bar has exercised that power and authority with respect to Plaintiff, highlight the Plaintiff's so far futile efforts to put an enduring stop to this abuse of power and authority, and underscore the inescapable conclusion that federal court intervention is now necessary to put a permanent stop to the abusive and unlawful conduct in which the North Carolina State Bar has been engaging.
Mr. Gilbert's complaint reveals that the North Carolina State Bar has become corrupt in its abuse of power. One of the reasons for the corruption is the lack of meaningful checks and balances to which Mr. Gilbert refers; the other is that North Carolina is still controlled and governed by a good ol' boy network dating back to white male plantation owners, and the network depends on the State Bar to enforce the political hierarchy, consisting primarily of attorneys.
The most disturbing aspect of Mr. Gilbert's case and my case is the State Bar's penchant for involving itself in pending litigation in order to fix the outcome of the case. By fixing lawsuits, the State Bar, even in this era, is attempting to control who has the money and power in this state.
I have begun comparing the North Carolina State Bar's disciplinary process with other states and what is becoming clear is that the North Carolina State Bar's disciplinary rules were written to allow the State Bar to wield an extraordinary amount of unchecked power in the event the status quo was challenged by minorities or women. For nine years the North Carolina State Bar harassed Mr. Gilbert for refusing to stay in "his place." I was disbarred because I refused to be silenced.
In Pennsylvania, a public Bar complaint can not be brought against an attorney without giving the attorney prior notice and an opportunity to be heard. In my case, the State Bar gave me no notice before it publicly brought a complaint containing an allegation that I was mentally ill. By the time I proved the allegation false, my law practice and business reputation were destroyed. Did the State Bar care about the effect the false allegation had on my law practice which was made up of my clients? Apparently not, or it would have given me an opportunity to defend myself in advance.
The North Carolina State Bar currently poses the gravest threat to democracy in North Carolina because it legalizes its unlawful conduct under the guise of "protecting the public." From my experience, the State Bar doesn't care about the public any more than white male plantation owners cared about their slaves. What the State Bar does care about is preserving the good ol' boy network so the money and political power in this state remain in the same hands. It's time for reform.
Mr. Gilbert's federal complaint against the State Bar:
My amended complaint against the State Bar: