Bar wants DiTrapano's law license suspended

By Chris Dickerson | Jun 28, 2006

Dante DiTrapano

CHARLESTON – Dante DiTrapano's law license should be suspended, according to the West Virginia Bar.

In a petition filed Monday with the state Supreme Court, the Bar's office of Lawyer Disciplinary Counsel says the goal of suspending the embattled Charleston attorney's license is to protect his clients.

"The primary purpose … is not punishment, but is the protection of the public and the reassurance of the public as to the reliability and integrity of attorneys," the counsel writes.

In a written response, the Supreme Court said there is good cause to proceed, and set a hearing for Sept. 13. The court, however, did not appoint a trustee to serve di Trapano's clients.

That came a day before DiTrapano pleaded with a federal judge to allow him out of jail on bond.

In U.S. District Court on Tuesday, DiTrapano said 13 days of solitary confinement at the South Central Regional Jail made him realize he would do whatever was asked of him if he were released on bond.

Still, Chief U.S. District Judge David Faber denied that request, affirming U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Stanley's ruling of last week.

So DiTrapano remains in custody of U.S. Marshals at South Central. His trial before Faber is scheduled for Aug. 23.

Charleston attorney Timothy LaFon, who represented DiTrapano on Tuesday in place of his law partner Michael DelGuidice, said he doesn't know if DiTrapano will file an appeal.

DiTrapano's bond first was denied last week by Stanley. He had been indicted earlier in June by a federal grand jury on one count of possession of a firearm by a user of controlled substances and another count of giving a false statement when purchasing a firearm. The charges are based on a search of DiTrapano's home in the South Hills section of Charleston on April 6.

Earlier in June, DiTrapano was cited with four driving related charges after a State Trooper pulled him over near St. Albans because of an expired state inspection sticker and an expired registration. DiTrapano also couldn't produce proof of insurance or a current operator's license because it already had been suspended. And DiTrapano already had been convicted of driving suspended on Nov. 21, 2005.

DiTrapano's recent string of troubles began in March when he and his wife Teri were arrested at the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Hilton Hotel and charged with possession of crack cocaine. Both of them were released on bond from Pinellas County Jail. The couple, as well as three individuals from the area, also was arrested for possession and a variety of other charges. Those charges still are pending.

Officials said there were 73 pieces of crack cocaine and 21 grams of powder cocaine in the room when the arrests occurred. Dante DiTrapano told officers he and the others were having one last party before he entered a drug rehab facility there.

DiTrapano was arrested again March 26 in Pinellas County, Fla., on a warrant for failing to appear at a motion hearing in connection with the crack cocaine charges. DiTrapano was in the intensive care unit of a Tampa hospital late in March.

In April, federal, state and local agents confiscated guns, ammunition, prescription drugs, drug paraphernalia and other personal items during a six-hour search of the DiTrapano home.

In May, Teri DiTrapano and son Zachary were arrested on misdemeanor charges after State Troopers responded to a call in Charleston's South Hills section.

Also in May, NFL star Randy Moss dropped Dante DiTrapano as his agent.

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