CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals voted to suspend Richard E. Hardison Jr.’s law license on Sept. 14.

Hardison entered a Kennedy plea earlier this month to delivery of cocaine and conspiracy to commit a felony. He also pleaded guilty to three counts of embezzlement and attempt to commit a felony.

In July, Raleigh Circuit Judge Robert Burnside granted a motion to revoke his bond, after he was charged with an additional count of embezzlement.

Hardison’s first two charges were from a 2012 incident in which an individual cooperating with the police department in Beckley purchased cocaine from him. The embezzlement charges totaled $188,500 from November 2013 through October 2015.

The Supreme Court’s order says that good cause exists to temporarily suspend Hardison’s license, effective immediately, until the underlying disciplinary proceedings before the Lawyer Disciplinary Board have been completed.

Chief Disciplinary Counsel Rachel L. Fletcher Cipoletti presented a petition June 27 seeking the immediate suspension of Hardison and the appointment of a lawyer to serve as trustee to protect the interests of his clients.

On Aug. 11, the Supreme Court entered an order authorizing the appointment of a trustee to protect the interests of Hardison’s cases. Sindey Bell was later appointed to oversee the active cases.

W.Va. Supreme Court of Appeals case number: 16-0612

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