Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Spill Over

A bar discipline matter reported in the current California Bar Journal:

The State Bar Court found that..a former deputy district attorney in both San Joaquin and Santa Cruz counties, committed four acts of misconduct, including acts of moral turpitude and failing to report that a two-count felony indictment was filed against him. Judge Lucy Armendariz rejected the State Bar’s request that [he] be disbarred. She expressed concern, however, that [his] “excessive consumption of alcohol” could “spill over into (his) professional practice and adversely affect (his) representation of clients and (his) practice of law.”

[His] first brush with the law occurred in 1995 when the truck in which he was a passenger was stopped by police because it was weaving from side to side. [His] then-wife was driving. An officer described [him], who identified himself as a deputy DA, as “highly intoxicated and highly agitated at being stopped.” He was suspended from work for five days for misusing his identification, interfering with a patrol officer’s investigation and compromising the relationship between his office and the California Highway Patrol.

The bar court found that his conduct violated a requirement that he uphold the law.

In the second matter, [he] involved himself in insurance fraud and hit and run driving charges filed against his girlfriend by his office. He represented his office in a hearing and made a recommendation that his office had not approved. Armendariz did not believe [his] explanation that he believed his statements were true. She found that [he] committed an act of moral turpitude by telling the court he was authorized to handle the case and by falsely representing the DA’s position.

In another matter, the court found that [he] committed an act of moral turpitude by lying to a police officer, blaming a non-existent individual for an accident he caused while driving drunk. [He] claimed he does not recall seeing the officer at the scene of the accident.

As a result of that accident, [he] was charged with driving under the influence and causing bodily injury to another driver. He did not report the charges to the bar.

[He] was terminated for cause in 2002 by the San Joaquin DA and resigned as a Santa Cruz County prosecutor last year.

[His] “exceptional legal abilities and dedication to public service” were considered as mitigation.

(Mike Frisch)


Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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