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Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
Judicial Department
24970 - In the Matter of Cox

In The Supreme Court

In the Matter of Merrill A. Cox, Respondent.

Opinion No. 24970
Submitted June 29, 1999 - Filed July 12, 1999


Orin G. Briggs, of Irmo, for Respondent.

Henry B. Richardson, Jr., of Columbia, for the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel.

PER CURIAM: In this attorney disciplinary matter, respondent and Disciplinary Counsel have entered into an agreement under Rule 21, RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR. In the agreement, respondent admits misconduct and consents to be suspended from the practice of law for ninety days. We accept the agreement.

Respondent was indicted on three counts of failure to file a South Carolina Income Tax Return in violation of S.C. Code Ann. ยง12-54-40(b)(6)(c) (Supp. 1995). He pled guilty to one of the counts. The failure to file a tax return is a serious crime as set forth in Rule 2(z), RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR. By his conduct, respondent has violated Rule 8.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 407, SCACR, and Rule 7(a)(4), RLDE, by committing a serious crime that reflects adversely upon his honesty, trustworthiness and fitness as a lawyer and has violated Rule 7(a)(5) and (6), RLDE, by engaging in con-duct tending to bring the courts or legal profession into disrepute and violating the oath of office he took upon admission to the practice of law in this State.

In our opinion, respondent's misconduct warrants a definite suspension from the practice of law for ninety days. Accordingly, respondent is suspended for ninety days, retroactive to June 28 1999, the date of his interim suspension. Within fifteen days of the date of this opinion, respondent shall file an affidavit with the Clerk of Court showing that he has complied with Rule 30, RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR.