March 2, 2010
The Cabinet Matter
A disciplinary sanction reported in the March 2010 online edition of the California Bar Journal;
[An attorney] was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 30-day suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Aug. 13, 2009, although the actual suspension was not effective until Sept. 14, 2009.
...the former Merced County District Attorney, stipulated that he committed an act of moral turpitude by misrepresenting his identity while trying to resolve a dispute his son and daughter-in-law had with a kitchen cabinet company.
[He] assigned the matter to a deputy DA in his office’s consumer fraud unit. The deputy was dismissed for unrelated matters before taking any action. When [the DA] learned later that nothing had been done, he asked an investigator in his office to handle the matter. Their conversation was interrupted so [he] later asked the investigator if he could use his name in talking to the cabinet company. The investigator agreed and was in the room when [he] called.
However, the company’s representative said she had to contact the legal department and would call back later. [The DA] provided his investigator’s phone number. It was the only call [he] made on the cabinet matter.
When the investigator asked how he would explain the difference between his voice and [the DA's], the DA advised him to say he was sick. [The DA] acknowledged his action was a mistake, but said he was trying to avoid intimidating the cabinet company, had it known the dispute was with members of the district attorney’s family.
In mitigation, [the DA] has no record of discipline, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation, demonstrated good character and displayed remorse for his misconduct.
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