Monday, July 24, 2017

Non-Compliance = Disbarment

A former judge pro tem has consented to disbarment in California.

He had failed to comply with the terms of a previously-imposed disciplinary sanction (a frequent reason for disbarment in the Golden State)

Pursuant to the disciplinary order, respondent was required to file with the clerk of the State Bar Court the declaration ("compliance declaration") required under subdivision (c) of California Rules of Court, rule 9.20 ("rule 9.20") by October 7, 2016.

The rule's compliance form is linked here.

He did not file the declaration.

From the recommendation of the State Bar Court Hearing Department

In three client matters and one State Bar investigation, respondent stipulated to misconduct for three counts of failure to account, and one count each for grossly negligently misappropriating $10,049.55 from one client, making a misrepresentation to one client’s insurance carder, failing to maintain client funds in respondent’s client trust account ("CTA"), failing to deposit client funds in respondent’s CTA, failing to notify client of receipt of client funds, falling to promptly pay client funds, failure to obey a court order, failure to report judicial sanctions, and failure to cooperate in a State Bar Investigation. Respondent made restitution to the client in the amount of $10,049.55 after the initiation of State Bar proceedings. The misconduct occurred between December 2, 2013, and January 29, 2016. In aggravation, respondent engaged in multiple acts of misconduct. In mitigation, respondent had no prior record of discipline over 37 years of practice prior to the misconduct, had shown remorse, provided evidence of good character, and entered into a pretrial stipulation.


Respondent served as Judge Pro Tom for the Orange County Superior Court for approximately 22 years. Respondent has also performed pro bono legal services in numerous civil rights and criminal cases. Additionally, respondent has volunteered with University of California Irvine Moot Court Program for approximately three years.


Here, respondent failed to file his compliance declaration, thereby committing more egregious misconduct than the attorney in Esau. Although respondent provided evidence in mitigation, the mitigation is not sufficiently compelling. Therefore, disbarment in the present matter is warranted.

Respondent’s prior disciplinary matters and his present misconduct demonstrate an unwillingness or inability to conform to ethical responsibilities. In light of the foregoing, disbarment will best serve the goals of protecting the public, the courts, and the legal profession; maintaining high professional standards for attorneys; and preserving public confidence in the legal profession.

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink


Who will look out for Tom now?

Posted by: David C. Carr | Jul 25, 2017 6:32:47 AM

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