Monday, August 29, 2011

No Reinstatement for Attorney Who Sold Vote

The California State Bar Court agreed with a hearing officer that an attorney had not shown that reinstatement was appropriate.

The court described the misconduct:

After being admitted to practice law in California in 1992, [the attorney] worked for ten years in the Public Defender’s Office in Carson, California. Her final assignment was with the Public Integrity Assurance Section where she prosecuted those accused of public corruption. In 1999, [she] was elected to the city council for a four-year term. During this time, [she] lived with her husband, an attorney who was abusing alcohol, and their two small children.

Shortly after her election, [the attorney] became aware of corruption among council members but failed to take any action or report it. Then in 2001, she was asked to join two other council members in a conspiracy to sell their three-vote majority to approve a new waste-hauling contract. [She] was promised $100,000 in $5,000 installments. She was hesitant about the plan because she knew it was wrong. So she discussed it with her husband who, to her surprise, pressured her to participate. [She] agreed to the conspiracy and on February 19, 2002, cast her illegal vote. A few months later, law enforcement discovered her involvement when she talked about the conspiracy with another council member who was wearing a "wire." By this time, [she] had received two $5,000 installments.

The attorney pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by extortion. She resigned from the Bar with charges pending in 2003.

The court found that the attorney had made "substantial progress toward rehabilitation" but that insufficient time had passed to warrant reinstatement. (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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