CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The state Supreme Court said Wednesday former Charleston attorney Dante DiTrapano hasn’t done enough to regain his law license.
The High Court rejected reinstatement in a written opinion.
DiTrapano was indicted on drug and firearms charges in 2006. He was later convicted and sentenced but got into trouble again in 2007 for possessing meth. His supervised release was revoked and he was sentenced to spend two years in federal prison. In 2009, DiTrapano was named in a federal information on a fraud-related charge. He was later sentenced to one day in prison and five years of supervised release which ends Jan. 2015.
DiTrapano filed to have his law license reinstated when the supervised release is over. The Lawyer Disciplinary Board held a hearing and recommended to the High Court the reinstatement take place if DiTrapano met certain conditions. The Supreme Court rejected the recommendation in Wednesday’s written opinion:
“While Mr. DiTrapano has made commendable efforts to deal with his substance abuse problem, our review and consideration are not limited only to Mr. DiTrapano’s abuse of intoxicating substances. Pursuant to our review of the entire record, we find that Mr. DiTrapano has not satisfied his burden of showing that he presently possesses the integrity and moral character to resume the practice of law. Therefore, we decline to reinstate Mr. DiTrapano’s law license,” the Court wrote.
Justice Menis Ketchum wrote a dissenting opinion.
“Sometimes we need to mix a little mercy with justice,” Ketchum said. “Mr. Ditrapano was in legal trouble for years because of his drug and alcohol addiction. However, he has been drug and alcohol free for over seven years and straightened up his life. In fact, he has more than met our five-factor test for rehabilitation in order to be readmitted to the practice of law.”