CHARLESTON - A day after hearing arguments from both sides, the state Supreme Court on Thursday decided to suspend the law license of Charleston attorney Dante DiTrapano.
The State Bar's Office of Disciplinary Counsel petitioned for the suspension on June 26, and oral arguments were heard Sept. 13 concerning the lawyer, who pleaded guilty in July to a federal drug and weapons charge.
"The Court is of opinion to and doth hereby grant said petition," the order says. "It is therefore ordered that the respondent's license to practice law in the State of West Virginia be, and it hereby is, temporarily suspended, effective immediately, until the underlying disciplinary proceedings before the Lawyer Disciplinary Board have been completed."
DiTrapano has had several run-ins with the law this year. The son of prominent Charleston attorney Rudolph DiTrapano, he was told during oral arguments by Justice Larry Starcher that, "If this young man's name wasn't DiTrapano, we'd be dropping the hammer on him so fast you wouldn't be able to blink your eyes.
"We would say that this lawyer would have no regard for the law."
Rachael Fletcher argued for the ODC, and Michael Del Giudice of Ciccarello, Del Giudice and LaFon represented DiTrapano, who was formerly the agent for NFL star and Kanawha County native Randy Moss.
DiTrapano's recent string of troubles began in March when he and his wife Teri were arrested at the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Hilton 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.
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 in late 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 early 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 on a suspended license on Nov. 21, 2005.
DiTrapano's bond was revoked last week after an Aug. 29 urine specimen tested positive for cocaine.
The previous week, DiTrapano had been put back in jail after violating terms of his home confinement. That was after federal probation officers filed a petition showing DiTrapano violated the home confinement conditions of his bond at least 12 times in the 12 days since he was released from a Huntington drug rehabilitation center.
DiTrapano was released from Prestera/PARCWEST in Huntington on Aug. 17. In an Aug. 14 order, Faber had ordered DiTrapano to remain free on bond with standard conditions and with the special conditions of home confinement and full cooperation in any aftercare treatment directed by his probation officer.
In July, DiTrapano pleaded guilty to a federal drug and weapons charge and was ordered into a drug treatment facility until his sentencing. DiTrapano pleaded guilty to a charge that he was a drug addict in possession of firearms, which is a violation of federal law.
After pleading guilty last month before going to rehab, DiTrapano paid a $10,000 bond and signed court documents agreeing to, among other things, not possess firearms or weapons and not to travel outside the Southern District of West Virginia. He also agreed to submit to random urine tests.
DiTrapano's sentencing hearing on that charge currently is scheduled for Oct. 24 in Charleston.