November 1, 2010
Just Say "No Contest"
A California attorney faces a recommendation that he be disbarred as a result of a criminal conviction and his failure to report the conviction to the State Bar. The attorney has been disciplined on three prior occasions.
The attorney was charged with three felony counts alleging a "capping" conspiracy involving payments for client referrals. He pled no contest to a misdemeanor count of conspiracy to commit an act injurious to the public or to obstruct justice. He claims that he entered the plea "only to save money," and was innocent. He further claimed that he was not obligated to report the charges or conviction:
I didn't think I had to. It was a misdemeanor and a nolo contendre plea and I didn't think I did anything wrong...[The District Attorney] said just plead to the general conspiracy type thing which obstruction of justice really doesn't mean anything.
He also claimed that he relied on the advice of counsel.
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