Light discipline penalties are a test of faith
It was amazing to see that the State Bar yelled and screamed that it
needed a dues bill passed in order to collect money to reinstate attorney discipline to
protect the consumers of California.
Yet when you read in the Califor-nia Bar Journal the monthly reports
of the discipline imposed on attorneys who steal from their clients, it makes one wonder
who does the State Bar look out for.
Ill never forget one I read a couple of years ago about an
attorney who stole client funds, among other misdeeds, and, after imposing a
slap-on-the-wrist penalty, the bar goes on to say his situation was mitigated because he
was an alcoholic.
No wonder the honest, ethical and hard-working attorneys of the state
of California have no faith in the State Bar.
Bottom line: Attorneys reprehensible conduct
I concur with Suzanne A. Tollefson and Dana Drake. The April 2000
issue in which their letters appeared contains in the Discipline section more examples of
facts the bar accepts as mitigating circumstances:
1. . . . he was engaged in a bitter divorce and child custody
battle at the time of [misappropriation of client funds]. . . .
2. . . . he was using illegal drugs.
Why does ones being under stress (or perhaps being in need of
money) or using drugs make behavior less reprehensible?
Gig Harbor, Wash.