CHARLESTON - On the heels of his conviction for tax evasion, the state Supreme Court has ordered the suspension of a Wood County attorney's law license.

The Court on June 2 ordered the immediate suspension of Richard A. Hayhurst's license. In its order, the Court said Hayhurst's recent admission in federal court he failed to pay over $400,000 in both personal income and employee withholding taxes as far back as 2003 "reflect adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness and fitness as a lawyer ... and poses a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public."

In April, U.S. District Judge Thomas E. Johnston sentenced Hayhurst to 21 months in prison for his failure to pay taxes. Since Hayhurst failed to learn a lesson from his previous conviction in 1996 for failing to file his 1991 tax return, Johnston said jail time was necessary.

Then, Hayhurst was sentenced to four months probation in a federal halfway house, and one year supervised probation which included four months home confinement. In response to that conviction, the Court suspended Hayhurst's license for three months.

In addition to prison, Johnston also ordered Hayhurst to make restitution to the federal government in the amount of his outstanding taxes totaling $405,000. As a special condition of his supervised release after completion of his prison sentence, Johnston ordered Hayhurst to make $500 monthly payments to the IRS.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Hayhurst, 61, has started his sentence, and is serving it at the Hazleton penitentiary in Bruceton Mills. He is scheduled for release in December 2011.

The Court's suspension order only affects Hayhurst's current ability to practice law. The state Bar's Office of Disciplinary Counsel is still investigating Hayhurst for ethics violations relating to his conviction.

More News