Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Wrong Way

A disciplinary report from the January 2013 California Bar Journal:

[An attorney] was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on four years of probation with an actual three-year suspension and until she proves her rehabilitation and she was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. She receives credit for the period of interim suspension that began April 25, 2010. The order took effect Nov. 8, 2012.

[The attorney] drove the wrong way onto the Santa Monica freeway, hitting a car that carried four passengers in addition to the driver, who was killed. The passengers all were seriously injured. [Her] blood alcohol level was .23 percent. Four years earlier, she was convicted of misdemeanor DUI. That complaint was dismissed after she completed drug and alcohol education and counseling.

At the conclusion of a 2009 jury trial, [she] was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence and causing body injury with a prior DUI, and driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or more with a prior. The court declared a mistrial on a murder count when the jury was deadlocked. The murder count was dismissed and Weinberg was sentenced to 16 years in prison; she has been incarcerated since Feb. 20, 2009. A writ of habeas corpus challenging the sentence is pending.

In mitigation, [the attorney] cooperated with the bar’s investigation, demonstrated extreme remorse, including paying the victims her $300,000 insurance policy limit although she acknowledged it did not provide full compensation. She also presented extensive evidence of her good character. [She] says she has not had any alcohol since the night in question.

(Mike Frisch)

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