Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sex And Love Addict

The California State Bar Court has concluded that the crime of possession of child pornography does not involve moral turpitude in all instances. The crime is "reprehensible" but "does not, in every instance, involve moral turpitude."

The bar court disagreed with a hearing judge's recommendation for disbarment and recommends a two year suspension with reinstatement conditioned on a showing of fitness to practice.

The attorney was convicted of a felony under California law. After sentencing, he twice violated probation. One violation involved possession of adult pornography. The other involved sex-texts from his cell phone to two women he had dated.

The attorney "testified that he is a recovering 'sex and love addict.' "He now participated in weekly Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meetings, takes medication and receives cognitive behavioral therapy. His therapist is optimistic about his recovery. 

The Board:

Viewing the facts and circumstances unique to [his] conviction, and considering his mitigation evidence, we recommend a lengthy suspension and reinstatement proceeding rather than disbarment. We wish to be clear – we view possession of child pornography as serious and reprehensible misconduct. However, as discussed, the State Bar did not prove that the facts and circumstances surrounding [his] criminal offense for possessing two child pornographic images involved moral turpitude. [He] was duly punished by the criminal court for his wrongdoing and we believe he should receive significant attorney discipline, particularly since he twice violated his criminal probation and demonstrated a lack of candor in these proceedings. We therefore recommend that to protect the public and the profession [he] be actually suspended from the practice of law for two years and reinstated only if he establishes his rehabilitation...

The attorney has been on interim suspension as a result of the conviction. (Mike Frisch)

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Although it is a public decision, it is not certified for publication, therefore it has no precedential value in California's State Bar Court, despite it's obvious importance (State Bar Rule of Procedure 5.159). The Review Department used to publish many decisions each year; in the last few years that number has dwindled, the last published decision being In the Matter of Allen published in November 2010. When the full time State Bar Court was instituted in 1989, one of the goals was to create a body of precedent that would guide the discipline system as well as the profession. Apparently that goal isn't important anymore.

Posted by: David Cameron Carr | Sep 15, 2011 7:53:42 AM

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