84-28.1. Disciplinary hearing commission.

(a) There shall be a disciplinary hearing commission of the North Carolina State Bar which shall consist of 20 members. Twelve of these members shall be members of the North Carolina State Bar, and shall be appointed by the Council. The other eight shall be citizens of North Carolina not licensed to practice law in this or any other state, four of whom shall be appointed by the Governor, two by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate in accordance with G.S. 120-121, and two by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in accordance with G.S. 120-121. The Council shall designate one of its appointees as chair and another as vice-chair. The chair shall have actively practiced law in the courts of the State for at least 10 years. Except as set out herein, the terms of members of the commission are set at three years commencing on the first day of July of the year of their appointment. The Council, the Governor, and the General Assembly respectively, shall appoint members to fill unexpired terms when vacancies are created by resignation, disqualification, disability or death, except that vacancies in appointments made by the General Assembly may also be filled as provided by G.S. 120-122. No member may serve more than a total of seven years or a one-year term and two consecutive three-year terms: Provided, that any member or former member who is designated chair may serve one additional three-year term in that capacity. No member of the Council may be appointed to the commission.

(b) The disciplinary hearing commission of the North Carolina State Bar, or any committee of the disciplinary hearing commission, may hold hearings in discipline, incapacity and disability matters, make findings of fact and conclusions of law after these hearings, enter orders necessary to carry out the duties delegated to it by the Council, and tax the costs to an attorney who is disciplined or is found to be incapacitated or disabled.

(b1) The disciplinary hearing commission of the North Carolina State Bar, or any committee thereof, acting through its chairman, shall have the power to hold persons, firms or corporations in contempt as provided in Chapter 5A.

(c) Members of the disciplinary hearing commission shall receive the same per diem and travel expenses as are authorized for members of State commissions under G.S. 138-5. (1975, c. 582, s. 6; 1979, c. 570, s. 8; 1983, c. 390, s. 4; 1995, c. 431, s. 19; c. 490, s. 51; 2003-116, s. 3; 2005-396, s. 3.)