George P. Walthall Jr., 71, of the 200 block of Evergreen Street, faces charges of unauthorized practice of law and attempted theft of property, courthouse records show. Walthall was arrested by the Alabama Attorney General’s Office
Disbarred Attorney George P. Walthall Jr. Arrested, Charged With Unauthorized Practice of Law, Theft
PRATTVILLE — A disbarred Prattville attorney allegedly tried to solicit business from a client after he had surrendered his law license.
George P. Walthall Jr., 71, of the 200 block of Evergreen Street, faces charges of unauthorized practice of law and attempted theft of property, courthouse records show. Walthall was arrested Thursday night by the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, records show.
Walthall appeared before District Judge Joy Booth on Friday morning for his first court appearance, dressed in blaze orange jail garb and restrained by handcuffs. He was informed that Circuit Judge Sibley Reynolds has revoked his $10,000 bond on his previous, unrelated, theft of property arrest in May.
Walthall’s attorney, Steve Langham, was irate that his client was re-arrested on the new charges.
“I was just handed this motion,” Langham told Booth. “This matter is pending with the bar association. I’ve never heard of any of this before. I’ve had no knowledge of the attempt to revoke Mr. Walthall’s bond.”
Katie Langer, the assistant district attorney handling the case, told Booth that the Alabama Bar handles civil matters and these cases are criminal matters. She also told Booth that it is common practice not to give a defendant a “head’s up,” about pending bond revocation so the person doesn’t have the opportunity to flee the jurisdiction or tamper with evidence.
The arrest warrant reads that Walthall voluntarily surrendered his license to practice law on June 1. Walthall’s action has the same effect of disbarment, according to the bar. His disbarment went into effect June 14, according to the bar. On June 11, Walthall allegedly solicited the business of a defendant in Autauga County for legal representation, the warrant reads. On June 14, Walthall while in Birmingham, allegedly tried to collect a debt of $3,500 from the woman, when she was in court in Autauga County, the warrant reads.
After discovering she was in Prattville, Walthall allegedly directed her to fill out paper work and make the payment at his office, the document goes on. Walthall “did this knowing he was no longer licensed to practice law,” the warrant reads. Walthall also allegedly documented the attempt to collect the money in a letter dated June 26, the warrant reads.
The AG’s office attempted to serve the arrest warrants, dated Aug. 14, on Walthall but could not find him because he had left the state, Langer told Booth. Walthall was in Florida due to a family medical emergency, Langham told Booth. Walthall never received permission from the court to leave the state while under his previous bond, Langer said.
“He could have sought permission to leave the state, your honor,” Langer told Booth.
This is the second arrest in about three months for Walthall. He was arrested May 18, on a charge of receiving stolen property in the first degree, courthouse records show.
Walthall was released on a bond of $10,000 on the same day he was arrested on the May charges. The case involves a travel trailer valued at $17,500 that was allegedly stolen in Dale County, said Autauga County Sheriff Joe Sedinger. The trailer has been recovered in Autauga County, records show.
Walthall said he didn’t know anything about the trailer being stolen.
“When you buck the system, the system gets you, “It appears that there was a trailer that was purchased, and it was moved over on property I own,” Walthall said on May 18, as he walked out of the Autauga Metro Jail after posting bond. “And it was sold to someone else and they removed it. And at that time it was learned that it was stolen property. Or that’s what I’ve heard.”
Walthall is a former Prattville city councilman, serving two terms from 1984-1992. He is also a former Prattville Municipal Court Judge. He was not reappointed to the judge’s post during former mayor Jim Byard Jr’.s first full term which began in 2000.
After his arrest of May 18, Walthall took exception to how the matter was handled.
“You know, it’s kind of unusual that they didn’t call me and say ‘Hey we’ve got an issue. Would you come down here,” he said on May 18. “They had to come to my home, and take me from my home. Parade me around town. And then parade me through the jail. And obviously let you known that I’m here.”