Monday, October 15, 2007
An attorney admitted in Texas and California was convicted of misdemeanor trespass on his plea of no contest "[a]s a result of his uninvited entrance into his former girlfriend's residence...and the ensuing altercation." A trial on the resulting ethics charges in California resulted in a decision recommending public reproval. The State Bar sought review of the recommendation.
The California State Bar Court concluded "that we have jurisdiction to determine our jurisdiction." Although the State Bar had filed two requests for review, and "apparently believed that it had perfected its right to appeal," the court dismissed the appeal as untimely (citing a complicated procedural posture that mooted the two notices): "Although we are loath to dismiss this case on jurisdictional grounds, we are compelled to do so because, despite its efforts, the State Bar's two requests for review filed in this matter were vacated by operation of law, thereby depriving us of jurisdiction to consider this appeal."
This result may add fuel to the suggestion that lawyer discipline elevates the interests of an accused lawyer over the public interest in a full review of the consequences of misconduct. (Mike Frisch)