Monday, March 5, 2012

Stalking Not Moral Turpitude

The March 2012 California Bar Journal has this summary of a disciplinary matter:

[An attorney] was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual two-year 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 received credit for a period of interim suspension that began June 23, 2008. The order took effect July 8, 2011, but the actual suspension ended Dec. 20, after he demonstrated his rehabilitation.

In 2009, [the attorney], a former deputy public defender, was convicted of felony stalking and misdemeanor harassing phone calls and violating a protective order. However, after the bar sought [his] summary disbarment, the review department determined that stalking does not involve moral turpitude and the crime therefore does not meet the summary disbarment criteria.

A woman [the attorney] met through an online dating service obtained a protective order against him after he sent her numerous emails that she interpreted as threatening. He also entered her home a few days after she left the state and rifled through her possessions; he claimed he went to the house to retrieve his personal belongings. [He] violated the protective order by trying to contact the victim through an email to her mother.

After a five-count indictment was filed against [him], he represented himself at a jury trial where he was convicted of a felony and two misdemeanors. The stalking felony was eventually reduced to a misdemeanor, based on [his] participation in substance abuse counseling, domestic violence prevention and payment of all fees and restitution.

[He] submitted extensive mitigation evidence, including no prior discipline, cooperation with the bar’s investigation, serious family problems, clinical depression and substance abuse. He has been sober since 2008.

The ABA Journal had this earlier report. (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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