Ohio Supreme Court indefinitely suspends Middletown-area attorney

A Middletown-area attorney who was indefinitely suspended by the Ohio Supreme Court hopes that the tragedy in his life and his testimony can be used to motivate others suffering from addiction and overcoming it.

That was part of the reaction from William Matthew Tinch, who has practiced law in Middletown and Springboro since he was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 2011.

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision issued Wednesday, indefinitely suspended Tinch for ethical violations that resulted from two criminal convictions and misusing client funds. That suspension is for two years before Tinch can apply to have his license reinstated.

The court did not give Tinch any credit for the time served under interim suspensions imposed in 2017 and 2018. The opinion noted the Court’s presumed sanction for misappropriating client funds is disbarment, but the Board of Professional Conduct often recommends indefinite suspension “when an attorney’s conduct was motivated by addiction and the attorney has demonstrated a commitment to recovery.”

In December, Tinch filed an objection to not receiving credit for time served in previous suspensions.

MORE: Franklin lawyer, suspended twice, fighting state board’s proposed sanctions

According to the court, Tinch has been undergoing substance abuse treatment since 2017, and part of his misconduct included asking a client to give him 10 prescription painkillers. The client refused.

The court said the Office of Disciplinary Counsel charged Tinch with 71 rule violations related to his criminal charges and neglecting the matters of 12 clients. The board reported that Tinch failed to cooperate with the disciplinary proceedings for more than two years, and the Court has deemed Tinch’s failure to promptly respond to the charges as an admission to the violations.

The opinion noted that Tinch has paid more than $14,000 in restitution to former clients and agreed to pay $1,000 in restitution to another. The Court ordered Tinch to provide proof within 60 days that he paid the restitution.

MORE: Middletown attorney in contempt for not filing compliance affidavit

To be reinstated, the Court will require Tinch to maintain his sobriety; comply with his three-year Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program contract that he entered in 2019; and provide proof from a qualified professional that he is capable of returning to the competent, ethical, and professional practice of law.

“I am thankful for the grace of God and for second chances,” Tinch said. “I’m thankful for the mercy of the Court and the Ohio Bar. The outcome is what we’ve all been praying for, which is a blessing.

"'Indefinite suspension" is not a revocation. I will continue serving at Berachah Church, in Middletown, where I help lead a recovery program call Re:Generation for those suffering from strongholds like addiction," he said. "In two years I'll be eligible for reinstatement. I have been and will continue to do the hard work to prove to everyone affected that I'm truly repentant, which what we, as Christians, are called to be. To God be the glory."

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