September 20, 2013
Former Albemarle County supervisor Chris Dumler has found himself as the defendant in yet another court case, this time in Orange County.
The charge is failure to appear in Orange County Circuit Court, but Dumler wasn't the defendant who didn't show.
He was the lawyer.
"It is very, very rare for an attorney not to know that the case is not over, that there are still responsibilities to the court and the client to be in court," said defense attorney Scott Goodman, who has no connection to the case.
Court records show that Dumler wrote a letter to Judge Daniel Bouton in June asking to be withdrawn from a case that he believed had concluded. That case, though, wasn't over.
"Any time an attorney is involved in a case, it's the attorney's responsibility to stay with the case until it's concluded," Goodman said.
When Dumler didn't show up for his client's hearing, a judge ordered a rule to show cause a hearing for Dumler to explain why he didn't show up. Dumler failed to show at that hearing, as well.
Authorities said after "multiple attempts" to contact him, they had no luck.
Dumler's actions, Goodman says, goes against the general responsibilities of lawyers to their clients.
"They cannot simply determine themselves that there's nothing further for the attorney to do," Goodman said.
Due to his failure to show twice, the court is now seeking Dumler for arrest. The charge is a misdemeanor charge for failure to appear, but that could lead to fines or jail time.
"There will be a hearing held before the court, and the attorney, Mr. Dumler, will have to show a very good reason why he was not in court," Goodman explained. "It's very unlikely he'll be able to do it since the record is clear that the case was not over and that Mr. Dumler was expected to appear."
Dumler served one month in jail earlier this year for a misdemeanor sexual assault charge before resigning from the board of supervisors. He's currently on probation, but it's unclear how this new charge could affect that.
The Newsplex attempted to reach out to Dumler, but his phone number has been disconnected.