For more than two years, the California State Bar has ticked off discipline-defense lawyers by endorsing tougher and more aggressive prosecutorial tactics.
Some attorneys thought that might change after former State Bar Chief Trial Counsel Scott Drexel was let go in June. But a lingering Drexel-era proposal that would let State Bar Court judges consider unsworn victim statements as evidence for increasing punishment has the discipline-defense bar up in arms again.
"It's just another example of the Bar's over-reaching because they can get away with it," Arthur Margolis, a partner with Margolis & Margolis in Los Angeles, said recently. "[State Bar officials] are leading the Board of Governors by the nose."
Bar prosecutors, however, say the proposal would simply provide for the type of victim impact statements allowed in criminal courts.
The proposal, recommended by a subcommittee of the State Bar Board's Committee on Regulation, Admissions and Discipline Oversight, would add a new State Bar rule allowing victims to submit a written statement explaining how their former attorneys' alleged misconduct hurt them. Statements would be submitted only after an attorney has been found culpable of pending charges and would be used by the State
Bar Court judge in determining the level of discipline to be imposed.
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Calif.Bar May OK Victim Statements for Discipline Cases