Suspended Rhode Island lawyer jailed for failing to pay sanction

Legal Ethics

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Updated: A suspended Rhode Island lawyer was jailed on a civil contempt charge for failing to pay more than $11,000 of a sanction imposed for making misrepresentations to the court.

The “lawyer and provocateur,” Keven A. McKenna of Providence, was arrested on Tuesday, the Providence Journal reports. On Thursday afternoon, McKenna’s lawyer said a check from a family member of McKenna’s had failed to clear and he was expected to stay in jail for a third night.

Judge Netti Vogel said Thursday that she won’t let McKenna out of jail until he produces the money. On Friday, he paid the money, securing his release from jail, the Providence Journal reports.

The sanction, imposed in 2015, stemmed from accusations that McKenna—a former state representative and municipal court judge—had filed court actions in people’s names without their consent. He was ordered to pay $19,267 to a defendant in one of the cases as a sanction.

McKenna paid some of the money then filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy case was dismissed in December and McKenna failed to show up for a Jan. 3 hearing on the sanction.

McKenna has also filed eight lawsuits against the state supreme court and two dozen other defendants since 2009. The state says the filings are vexatious and seeks to ban him from filing new lawsuits against the state’s top court and its attorney general, the Journal reported in November.

McKenna’s license was suspended in 2015, partly for trying to disrupt and delay a workers’ compensation proceeding and failing to disclose income to the bankruptcy court. His license has not yet been reinstated.

Updated at 3:05 p.m. to report that McKenna has paid the money.



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