Tuesday, October 2, 2012


The state Supreme Court is taking a tougher stand on how lawyers are being punished, ordering the State Bar of California to take a second look at more than three dozen cases of disciplined attorneys.

The court’s move to turn back so many cases is unprecedented, and has sent a jolt through the state’s legal community.
The justices did not say what it was about the misconduct cases that required additional review, but bar officials and lawyers who follow the discipline process said it is clear the court questioned whether the punishments were too lenient.

That means the cases against 42 lawyers, including four from San Diego, that once appeared settled are now in doubt. The misconduct in the cases runs the spectrum:

• A lawyer in Berkeley who represented a man charged with murdering a journalist smuggled a letter out of jail for him, then lied about it to police. Prosecutors said the letter was a hit list for witnesses against him in his upcoming trial. The bar settled the matter with a six-month suspension.
• A Newport Beach lawyer collected more than $100,000 in fees for working on loan modifications for clients in nine states. He wasn’t licensed to practice law in any of the states, and in some of the cases did little or no work. The lawyer received a one-year suspension.

• San Diego lawyer Steven A. Guilin agreed to a six-month suspension of his license for misconduct in two instances, including forging a client’s signature and another lawyer’s, State Bar records show. He referred questions to his attorney, who declined to comment while the disciplinary matter is pending.

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Thelma said...

Well, happy days!

The complaints must have been multiplying like robbers -- err, rabbits!

Betty said...

Turning back penalties? Now that's a new wrinkle!