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by Dave Emke — September 13, 2017 at 11:30 am 24 Comments

A Reston attorney accused of boorish behavior as he drunkenly attended a legal seminar now faces an additional license suspension that will not allow him to practice law in the state well into the next decade.

Wayne Richard Hartke of Hartke Law Offices (11890 Sunrise Valley Drive) did not appear in court for a client’s preliminary hearing on Aug. 6, 2016. When he was called from the courtroom, Hartke said he did not show up because he had not been paid. The judge told him his attendance was required regardless of whether he had been paid, to which Hartke responded that he was physically unable to come in.

Hartke later said that his home had been foreclosed upon in February 2016 and that the sheriff had removed all his active files, which led to him being unaware of the Aug. 6 hearing. However, investigation determined that the case had been entered in May, meaning the sheriff could not have removed the file.

The court found that Hartke had “obstructed and interrupted the administration of justice” and he was sentenced to 10 days in jail. In its ruling last month, the Virginia State Bar suspended his license to practice law for five years because of “a pattern of misconduct by [Hartke] during his many years of practice.”

That suspension won’t go into effect until Oct. 27, 2019, after a three-year suspension that was issued last October is served. The current suspension relates to charges that were brought upon Hartke by a Virginia State Bar panel a few months after alleged drunken and disruptive behavior at a Continuing Legal Education seminar in Tysons on Jan. 8, 2014.

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