Tennessee Supreme Court Upholds Disbarment for Attorney Convicted of Tax Evasion

April 25, 2019

The Tennessee Supreme Court has affirmed the disbarment of Knoxville attorney John O. Threadgill.

Mr. Threadgill’s disbarment was based on his conviction for felony tax evasion in federal district court, which was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  Mr. Threadgill’s conviction resulted from a tax dispute that began in the 1980s, culminating in his 2012 conviction and subsequent incarceration.  Following his conviction, the Tennessee Supreme Court ordered that the Board of Professional Responsibility initiate proceedings to determine Mr. Threadgill’s discipline, and the disciplinary hearing was held in 2017 after Mr. Threadgill’s release from custody.  The hearing panel imposed the sanction of disbarment.  The Knox County Chancery Court affirmed the hearing panel’s decision, and Mr. Threadgill appealed to the Supreme Court.

On appeal, Mr. Threadgill argued that the courts did not have jurisdiction over his disciplinary proceedings because his conviction came after he was previously twice disbarred for misappropriating client funds, among other charges.  He also argued that the discipline was too harsh.  The Supreme Court concluded that Mr. Threadgill’s argument regarding jurisdiction was without merit because the conduct underlying his conviction occurred well before his first two disbarments.  The Supreme Court further determined that the Panel’s sanction was supported by substantial and material evidence.

To read the unanimous opinion of the Supreme Court in John O. Threadgill v. Board of Professional Responsibility, authored by Justice Roger A. Page, please visit the Opinions section of TNCourts.gov.