Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lawyers, Guns, Arson And Other Stuff: The California Bar Journal

From the April 2011 California Bar Journal:

[An attorney] was suspended for four years, stayed, placed on four years of probation with a two-year actual suspension and until he proves his rehabilitation and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. He was given credit for the interim suspension that began Nov. 6, 2009. The order took effect Dec. 24, 2010.

[The attorney] has been convicted three times for driving under the influence, a crime that does not involve moral turpitude. In the third incident, in 2008, [he] drove 120 MPH, and drove on the center divide and the right shoulder to evade a police officer. He eventually parked and locked the car in a residential neighborhood, where the police found and arrested him. Officers found an assault rifle and magazine in the trunk. He pleaded guilty to felony evasion and DUI. His blood alcohol content was .15.

In mitigation, [he] had substantial family and emotional problems and he is being treated for alcoholism.

And another matter:

[An attorney] was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a nine-month actual suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Dec. 24, 2010.

[The attorney] stipulated to misconduct in two matters. In the first, he was convicted of three felonies after he fired a rifle into the air when two people attempted to repossess his car. He was convicted of two counts of assault with a firearm with enhancements for personal use of a firearm, one count of discharge of a firearm with gross negligence and one count of misdemeanor brandishing a firearm.

In a second case, he filed suit in a real estate matter, but the case was dismissed when he failed to appear for a hearing. He did not refile the case or notify the client of the dismissal and stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently or keep a client informed of developments in his case.

In mitigation, he had no prior discipline record, cooperated with the bar’s investigation and presented evidence of his good character.

A third summary reported these ususual circumstances in mitigation of discipline:

In mitigation, [the attorney] had no prior discipline record, repaid $16,000 to one client, and for most of two years was the target of a joint federal and local investigation of child pornography. He was never charged and a relative was convicted, but he suffered tremendous stress during the investigation. In addition, his law office was burned in a suspicious fire and he lost all his documents and files. An unstable client of another attorney confessed to arson and committed suicide when law enforcement tried to arrest him.

(Mike Frisch)

 

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