ASHLAND A high-powered local defense attorney — visible throughout the community with billboards that read “Just because you did it doesn’t mean you’re guilty” — has agreed to a one-year probationary period in lieu of a six-month suspension from practicing law.
At the center of the consensual discipline order are two cases: a personal injury case and the manslaughter case involving a former deputy jailer charged in the 2018 death of a Boyd County Detention Center inmate.
In an order penned Jan. 21 by the Kentucky Supreme Court, Attorney Sebastian M. Joy agreed to the consensual discipline order in November 2020 in connection with a state bar inquiry that found he overcharged Brad Roberts, one of the deputy jailers indicted in the death of 40-year-old Michael Moore.
According to the order, Joy agreed to represent Roberts for $35,000 with $10,000 up front. Joy then “visited” Roberts on Christmas Eve 2018 in the Fayette County Jail — however, jail records and Roberts himself do not corroborate the visit, leading the inquiry to conclude the meeting never happened.
For that visit, Joy charged $1,600 — which includes travel expenses, according to the order.
After Roberts was arraigned, Joy motioned to allow part of his cash bond to be secured with stocks and bonds, after Roberts’ uncle agreed to put them up, on the condition the bond was in his name, records show. However, when Joy made the motion, he never mentioned the uncle, according to the order.
The uncle had to turn around and get a lawyer of his own to fix it up in his name, so the stocks and bonds couldn’t be attached to any liens incurred by Roberts from a lawyer or a creditor, the order said.
The inquiry concluded Joy did not ask to use securities in the uncle’s name, because he knew if he did he wouldn’t be able to use them as a way to collect his money, according to the order.
After that, Roberts fired Joy — Joy sent a bill that deducted all of the $10,000 his client put up front, and left a balance of $1,386, records show.
The personal injury case involved an Ohio man who stated Joy did not keep him abreast of key developments in his case, including a partial summary judgment, according to the order. In that case, Joy was charged with failure to adequately represent that client.
As part of the terms of his probation, Joy agreed to refund Roberts $5,000 and attend ethics and other legal trainings at his own expense, according to the order.
All the judges agreed to the order — newly seated Judge Bob Conley recused himself from the case.
Joy offered the following comment regarding the order:
“I’m glad to put this two-year ordeal behind us, it’s unfortunate the incident occurred. I have already met over half the conditions that were imposed upon me on my consensual discipline order. I will continue serving my clients ethically and aggressively to the best of my abilities,” Joy wrote in a text message.
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