California Bar Journal
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 2000
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DISCIPLINE

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USLaw.com

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CAUTION!

Nearly 171,125 attorneys are eligible to practice law in California. Many attorneys share the same names. All discipline reports are taken from State Bar Court documents and should be read carefully for names, ages, addresses and bar numbers.

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DISBARMENTS

INDERJEET SINGH AULAKH [#47411], 68, of Visalia was disbarred July 2, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955 of the California Rules of Court.

Aulakh did not comply with a rule 955 requirement in a1999 discipline order; he did not file an affidavit with the Supreme Court stating that he had notified his clients and other pertinent parties of his suspension from practice. Failure to comply with rule 955 is grounds for disbarment.

The original discipline was the result of Aulakh’s abandonment of an incarcerated client and a failure to account for or return unearned fees.

In recommending disbarment, State Bar Court Judge Nancy Roberts Lonsdale also pointed out that Aulakh did not participate in the proceedings, “which raises a grave concern that he has no regard whatsoever for his professional obligations.”

GERARD FRANKLIN CANEVARO [#74215], 55, of Santa Fe, N.M., was disbarred July 2, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Canevaro failed to comply with rule 955, as required by a 1998 discipline order. He did not submit to the Supreme Court an affidavit attesting that he notified his clients and other pertinent parties of his suspension from practice.

He was disciplined in California after having been indefinitely suspended from practice in New Mexico for failing to perform legal services on behalf of a client, relocating his office without notifying his client and failing to return client files, including medical records.

His misconduct in New Mexico was found to violate California rules, including failure to competently perform legal services, return client files, communicate with a client and cooperate with a bar investigation.

Canevaro did not participate in proceedings in either state, leading to defaults.

JAIME V. LOPEZ [#134226], 46, of Los Angeles was disbarred July 2, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Lopez misappropriated $25,000 in client funds received as settlement of a personal injury case. Although he deposited the funds in his client trust account, he allowed the balance to fall to a negative amount.

On behalf of three clients, he wrote checks against insufficient funds to medical providers.

The State Bar Court found that Lopez failed to notify a client of his receipt of client funds, failed to maintain the funds in his client trust account, misappropriated client funds, wrote bad checks and committed acts of moral turpitude. He also did not maintain a current address with the State Bar.

In recommending Lopez’ disbarment, Judge Carlos Velarde noted that his actions were connected to the practice of law and “it is this type of conduct which particularly undermines the public’s confidence in the legal profession and which this court does not take lightly.”

SUSPENSIONS/PROBATION

RALPH S. BRANSCOM [#53209], 56, of San Diego was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on three years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect June 7, 2000.

Branscom stipulated to four counts of misconduct in two cases.

In the first, he failed to perform legal services competently or respond to his client’s inquiries in a patent application. Despite advance payment, he did no work on the application, failed to attend a meeting about his lack of progress, and never filed the application. He did not return his client’s numerous phone calls.

Branscom stipulated to similar misconduct in another patent application he was hired to prepare and file in January 1995. He did not respond to four letters and 19 phone calls, and in May 1996, a member of his staff told the client the firm was dissolving and Branscom’s whereabouts were unknown. Branscom spoke to the client at some point that month and said he would not meet with him.

The client submitted a petition for an extension of time to the Patent Trademark Office. In November 1996, Branscom filed the patent application and followed it to the point at which a fee was due. He did not pay the fee.

In mitigation, Branscom is a former president of the San Diego Patent Law Association and twice chaired the local bar association’s client relations committee. He has no record of discipline.

DENNIS R. CONSTANT [#85119], 47, of Upland was suspended for 30 days, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect June 7, 2000.

Constant did not timely comply with the terms of a 1997 private reproval: he filed quarterly probation reports, made restitution and attended ethics school after the required deadlines.

In mitigation, he did not practice law, was earning a minimal salary, and could not make restitution because of financial hardship.

The original discipline was the result of Constant’s failure to perform legal services competently, refund unearned fees, keep clients informed about developments in their case and cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

JOHN DAVID RANDOLPH [#87613], 57, of San Jose was suspended for one year, stayed, and was placed on one year of probation with an actual 30-day suspension. The order took effect June 7, 2000.

Randolph stipulated that he misused or mismanaged his client trust account and commingled personal and client funds. He deposited and maintained personal funds in the account, wrote checks to himself not related to the payment of attorney fees, and wrote checks against insufficient funds in the account.

He kept no client funds in the account since he was suspended from practice from February 1997 to February 1998.

In mitigation, no clients were harmed, Randolph suffered family and financial problems and he took steps in recognition of his wrongdoing.

The original discipline was imposed for splitting fees with a nonlawyer, mishandling client funds and failing to cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

ARTHUR F. SILBER [#130768], 52, of Los Angeles was suspended for four years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual one-year suspension, and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect June 7, 2000.

Silber stipulated that he failed to comply with the probation conditions attached to two disciplinary orders. He did not attend ethics school, submit five quarterly probation reports, submit evidence that he obtained mental health treatment or furnish proof that he had not practiced law while suspended. He committed a total of 15 probation violations.

Silber had been disciplined for failure to perform legal services competently, keep clients informed about developments in their cases, return client property and cooperate with a bar investigation, and he improperly withdrew from employment.

In mitigation, Silber states that his noncompliance was due in significant part to his previously undiagnosed alcoholism. He now is sober and attends regular AA meetings.

MICHAEL B. SPIZER [#35211], 63, of Los Angeles was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a 90-day actual suspension and was ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect June 7, 2000.

Spizer was suspended from practice from January to March 1998. Because he was living in a “sober living” situation, he did not receive notice of the suspension immediately.

He practiced law while suspended, making court appearances in a case he had accepted before his suspension. He said he had not received notice of his suspension at the time. He also had accepted a $2,500 fee to represent his client.

Following one court appearance, Spizer entered an inpatient residential drug treatment program for a 28-day stay. Two days later, he was suspended for failing to pass the professional responsibility exam, a probation condition which had been attached to an earlier discipline.

He missed several court appearances because he was living in the inpatient facility. He later explained to the court his reason for missing the hearings. Spizer did not refund the unearned fee until after a complaint was made to the State Bar.

Another client hired Spizer to represent him in a criminal matter, but when the client learned Spizer was suspended, he declined the representation. Spizer said he could not refund the client’s advance fee because he did not have the money. He returned the money after learning that the client filed a claim with the Client Security Fund.

Spizer has a record of three other disciplines. In 1990, he received a stayed suspension and probation for failure to perform, communicate with clients or promptly return files. Following a default hearing in 1997, he was again disciplined for two client abandonments. A year later, he stipulated to misconduct that included accepting a fee while suspended and disclosing a confidence while representing a client with whom he was romantically involved.

In mitigation, Spizer, who became a drug addict after the breakup of his marriage of 25 years, lives in a residential treatment facility whose administrators report he is committed to sobriety. He cooperated with the bar’s investigation and he made restitution.

JOSEPH TRENK [#101459], 45, of Van Nuys was suspended for two years, stayed, and was placed on two years of probation with a 30-day actual suspension and until he attends ethics school and completes six MCLE hours in law practice management and six hours in legal ethics. If the actual suspension exceeds 90 days, he must comply with rule 955, and if it exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect June 7, 2000.

Trenk failed to comply with probation conditions attached to a 1997 public reproval — he submitted four quarterly probation reports late and he did not attend ethics school or complete six hours each of MCLE courses in ethics and law office management.

Trenk has two prior records of discipline. The public reproval was based on a failure to perform, return the client’s file or cooperate with the bar’s investigation. In a 1998 case, he mishandled four client matters by failing to perform or communicate with clients and in one instance, he failed to obey a court order.

The court gave some mitigating weight to Trenk’s family circumstances, which include his wife’s multiple sclerosis and his father’s two bypass surgeries, and to the fact that he complied with probation conditions either in part or late. The bar court also conceded that part of the discipline order may have been confusing.

JOHN COLLIER PYLE [#98212], 53, of Lodi was suspended for four years, stayed, placed on four years of probation with an actual 30-month suspension, and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation, take the MPRE, attend ethics school and comply with rule 955. The order took effect June 9, 2000.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Pyle committed multiple acts of wrongdoing, including trust account violations, writing bad checks, misappropriation, misrepresentation and practicing law while suspended. His actions involved moral turpitude and dishonesty.

Pyle was publicly reproved in 1996, and although he made the required restitution, he did not take the professional responsibility exam or attend ethics school.

In another count, the court found that he improperly used his client trust account as a personal account by both writing personal checks and commingling personal and client funds. He also wrote checks against insufficient funds and did not cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

Pyle substituted into a civil action, but according to the court, he did not defend the action, refund unearned fees, keep his client informed of any developments, and entered into a stipulated judgment without his client’s knowledge or consent. A default judgment in the case had been set aside, and after Pyle filed an answer to the complaint, he did not conduct any discovery or take any action to defend the case. Sanctions were issued against his client, but Pyle did not notify him. He allowed facts against his client’s interests to be admitted.

After not hearing from Pyle for seven months, the client went to his office and learned a trial date had been set. He authorized Pyle to make a settlement offer of approximately $1,800 and paid Pyle $250 to prepare “letters of discovery.” No letters were prepared, no discovery was conducted and Pyle agreed to a stipulated judgment of $4,500. When the client objected, Pyle said he would rectify the situation by writing a letter to the judge.

When the client received his file, it contained a letter to the judge which had not been mailed and a document which had been altered.

The client sued Pyle; a default judgment was entered when Pyle did not defend the action. He was ordered to refund $1,000 to the client but did not do so.

In another case Pyle took on a contingency basis, he received and cashed a settlement check, but did not place the money in his trust account. He repeatedly told his client there was a delay with the draft clearing his account and did not disburse his funds for six months. The bar court found that Pyle misappropriated client funds, made misrepresentations to a client, failed to place entrusted funds in a trust account, and used the trust account for personal purposes.

Pyle also was the attorney of record in three cases and took action on those matters while he was suspended for nonpayment of bar dues.

Pyle has a prior record of discipline.

ROBERT NEIL MARCUS [#158299], 37, of Los Angeles was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a one-year actual suspension, and was ordered to make restitution, prove his rehabilitation, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect June 11, 2000.

The State Bar Court found that in representing a client in a loss of consortium claim, Marcus asserted a claim in bad faith to fees he was not owed, failed to deposit and maintain the disputed fees in a client trust account although he had notice of pending tax liens against him and allowed the funds to be taken by the IRS to satisfy his personal tax obligations and, in part, a default judgment. He took no steps to have the levied funds released by the taxing authorities.

In addition, the court found, Marcus charged an unconscionable fee, claiming in excess of $28,000 for work the court valued at no more than $2,000 and for which he was awarded no fees in two arbitrations.

The case began as a personal injury and loss of consortium claim by a couple who eventually divorced. The divorce settlement provided the wife with spousal support of more than $72,000, plus 5 percent of any future net recovery received by the husband in his personal injury case.

When the wife hired Marcus to handle the loss of consortium claim, he was put on notice that his contingency fee did not extend to the client’s divorce settlement money, which had been agreed to prior to his hiring.

The personal injury case settled in favor of Marcus’ client and her ex-husband and the loss of consortium claim settled for $100,000. Marcus had several discussions with the couple’s personal injury lawyer calculating the wife’s 5 percent share of that settlement. They agreed she would receive $82,480.79, which included the $72,000 from the divorce and another $10,000 representing her share of the personal injury settlement less about $3,000 in costs.

When Marcus and the client received the $100,000 settlement in the loss of consortium case, he claimed he was entitled to $61,826 as fees — one-third from that case and one-third ($28,493) from the divorce settlement lien against the personal injury settlement.

The client disagreed and instructed Marcus to take one-third of the loss of consortium settlement as his fee, disburse $38,173 to her and place the remaining $28,493 in trust as disputed funds. Marcus sued her.

He and the client then placed the disputed funds in a money market account rather than a client trust account.

Both a fee arbitrator and a judicial arbitrator ruled that Marcus was not entitled to any part of the divorce settlement in fees.

Meanwhile, the money market account was depleted when the IRS and the California Franchise Tax Board seized most of it to satisfy Marcus’ outstanding tax obligations and a bank seized what was left to satisfy a $156,790 default judgment against Marcus. Marcus took no action to have any of the agencies replenish the account and his client received none of the money to which she was entitled. She has never received her settlement funds.

The court cited in mitigation Marcus’ pro bono work, a donation to the Diabetes Foundation and the donation of uniforms to a softball team.                                                                           

DAVID C. ANTON [#94852], 45, of Kensington was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 45-day actual suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect June 11, 2000.

In a wrongful termination case filed in federal court, Anton admitted he fabricated evidence. He attributed his actions to emotional and mental difficulties and said he sought counseling and planned to take a sabbatical.

As a result of his admission, he was suspended for one year from federal practice, was ordered to take the professional responsibility exam, reimburse opposing parties for costs and attorneys’ fees and pay a $2,000 fine. He paid the fine and reimbursed the opposing parties.

The matter was referred to the State Bar. Anton stipulated that he intentionally sought to mislead the court and committed an act of mortal turpitude.

In mitigation, he was suffering from depression, he reported his misconduct to the bar and cooperated with the investigation, and he removed himself from the case and took no fee, reduced his workload and contributed $25,000 towards his client’s settlement. In exchange, the opposing parties agreed not to enforce the order requiring Anton to pay costs and attorneys’ fees.

Anton was privately reproved in 1989 for failure to deposit funds in trust.

STEVEN JOSEPH BARTH [#104204], 48, of San Jose was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 45-day actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect June 11, 2000.

Barth stipulated to one count of failing to comply with probation conditions attached to a 1998 public reproval. He did not submit six quarterly probation reports, take the MPRE by the required deadline, attend ethics school or keep his address current with the State Bar.

In a second matter, he stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently. He took over an Arizona case although he is not licensed to practice there. He carried the case on the inactive calendar for months with the court’s permission, but when he finally obtained permission to appear pro hac vice, no work had been done and the case was dismissed.

MARLENE YVETTE BISHOP [#94732], 50, of Charlotte, N.C., was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect June 21, 2000.

Bishop stipulated that she made a false representation to the court and submitted a document containing incorrect information, an act of moral turpitude.

As an attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s office, Bishop failed to meet a deadline for filing the government’s answer. Several days after the deadline, Bishop asked her secretary to call the judge’s secretary and say the answer had been prepared but not filed on time because her secretary was absent from work. Her secretary later became aware that Bishop had not completed the answer until after the deadline and informed a supervisor.

When the motion for extra time was filed, it contained the incorrect explanation about the absent secretary. Bishop’s office informed the judge about the misstatements, which she admitted.

Bishop is also a member of the Washington, D.C. bar, which issued an informal admonition as a result of her misconduct.

In mitigation, Bishop had recently adopted a newborn child at the time of her misconduct, her older child had medical problems and Bishop also developed a neurological disorder. She remains under treatment and also receives psychological counseling.

She has no record of prior discipline, although the stipulation notes that as a former attorney for the State Bar, she “was, or should have been, much more aware than the average attorney of the wrongfulness of her acts and the likelihood they involve moral turpitude.”

DELORIS ANN BROWN [#107776], 58, of Los Angeles was suspended for one year, stayed, and placed on one year of probation. The order took effect June 21, 2000.

Brown stipulated that she did not meet a requirement of a 1998 discipline that she comply with rule 955. She did not submit to the Supreme Court an affidavit stating that she had notified her clients and other pertinent parties of her suspension from practice.

In mitigation, she sought help from the State Bar’s probation office regarding compliance with rule 955, but was unable to contact anyone because of layoffs in the discipline office. She filed the correct affidavit late.

The original discipline was the result of failing to perform competently, promptly pay client funds or deposit client funds in a trust account.

BRYANT K. CALLOWAY [#140431], 38, of Irvine was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation, and was ordered to make restitution and demonstrate his rehabilitation. The order took effect June 21, 2000.

Calloway stipulated that he did not comply with the conditions of a 1998 private reproval. He did not submit three quarterly probation reports or submit proof of passing the MPRE on time. He has since passed the exam.

The reproval was the result of failing to keep a client informed about significant developments in a case and failing to perform legal services competently.

In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar and he experienced family problems.

RICHARD JAMES COOPER [#88156], 48, of San Jose was suspended for six months, until he makes restitution and until the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the suspension. If the suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. He also was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect June 21, 2000.

In a default proceeding, the bar court found that Cooper failed to perform legal services competently, return unearned fees or maintain a current address with the bar. He also practiced law while suspended and committed acts of moral turpitude.

Cooper was hired in 1997 to handle a name change for a client’s adult stepson and a minor for whom the client was the legal guardian. Although he prepared the papers and had the client sign them, he did not file the petition or obtain the consent of the natural parents of the minor about the name change.

Cooper subsequently was suspended from practice for not paying his bar dues.

He told the client a hearing on the name changes was scheduled and said he would arrange for the minor child’s mother to agree to the name change. In fact, no hearing was scheduled. He then told the client that the child’s parents’ consent was not necessary.

When the client learned the petition had not been filed and a hearing was never scheduled, he fired Cooper and asked for a refund of the $1,750 fee he had paid. When no refund was forthcoming, the client was awarded a judgment against Cooper for $1,750. It was not paid.

In mitigation, Cooper has no record of discipline in 17 years of practice.

RUDY DAVID GUZZETTA [#59450], 53, of San Jose was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect June 21, 2000.

Guzzetta stipulated that in two matters, he did not return client papers and property, despite the  repeated requests of his clients.

In both matters, he represented criminal defendants. After each was convicted, they were represented by new attorneys to appeal their convictions. When the appellate lawyers sought the files, Guzzetta did not provide them. In one matter, a paralegal went to Guzzetta’s office to retrieve the file.

Guzzetta also did not cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

He has two records of discipline, in 1987 and 1993, for misconduct including failure to perform legal services competently and failure to properly preserve client funds.

In mitigation, Guzzetta was suffering from physical difficulties at the time of the misconduct.

MALCOLM LEVINTHAL [#32209], 73, of Santa Barbara was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect June 21, 2000.

Levinthal stipulated that he practiced law while suspended for non-payment of bar dues.

At the time he was suspended in 1995, Levinthal asked the bar to waive payment of fees and costs he owed ($1,300) or postpone payment until the following year, because he did not have enough money to pay what he owed. The bar notified him it could not process his request immediately.

At the same time, he faced a court deadline in a matter he had been handling for two years for a long-time client. He filed two documents with the court, which addressed the question of filing the appellate documents while Levinthal was suspended and the court ruled that it was permissible in order to preserve his clients’ rights.

Levinthal was disciplined in 1994 for failure to avoid adverse interests and for failing to keep his address current with the bar.

In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar, no clients were harmed, and he faced financial difficulties at the time of his misconduct.

CATHERINE THUY THANH SANCHIRICO [#170682], 33, of Foothill Ranch was suspended for one year, stayed, and placed on two years of probation. The order took effect June 21, 2000.

Sanchirico stipulated that she did not comply with the conditions attached to a 1997 private reproval by not completing six hours of continuing education in law office management. She also did not respond when disciplinary charges were filed and her default was entered in June 1999. Sanchirico was placed on inactive enrollment at that time.

The private reproval was for failing to perform, improperly withdrawing from representation, failing to refund unearned fees and trust account violations.

In mitigation, Sanchirico tried to file a change of address with the bar during its shutdown following the 1997 veto of the fee bill, but the change was not made. She also was unable to obtain information about her discipline at the time. She maintains she sent a probation report which was not received by the bar.

JAMES HARVEY SLOEY [#78180], 52, of Manhattan Beach was suspended for 30 months, stayed, placed on three years of probation, and was ordered to make restitution and to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect June 21, 2000.

Sloey entered into a stipulation with the State Bar in 1996, but because of financial problems was unable to comply with the requirement that he make restitution to one individual. He did comply with the other terms of the probation, including submitting quarterly reports, completing 30 hours of education in both law office management and/or ethics and client relations, attending ethics school and client trust account school and taking the MPRE.

The newest order requires him to complete restitution in the amount of $63,980.50.

The original discipline resulted from Sloey’s failure to perform legal services competently.

LUIS RENE VALDEZ [#153865], 39, of Santa Ana was suspended for six months, stayed, and placed on two years of probation. The order took effect June 21, 2000.

Valdez stipulated to misconduct in three matters.

In two of the cases, he represented clients on workers’ compensation claims, but both hired a new lawyer after not hearing from Valdez for lengthy periods. Valdez did not provide the clients’ files to the new lawyer for nine months.

In a third workers’ compensation matter, he stopped returning his client’s phone calls and the client hired a new lawyer.

Valdez stipulated to failing to release client property promptly and failing to respond to a client’s reasonable status inquiries.

Valdez has two prior disciplines: a public reproval in 1997 for improperly withdrawing from a case and failing to respond to client inquiries or cooperate with the bar’s investigation, and a 1999 suspension for disobeying a court order and failing to comply with conditions attached to the reproval.

In mitigation, Valdez was under financial stress, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation and no clients were harmed.

WALTER F. WIGGINS JR. [#138403], 38, of Verdugo City was suspended for six months, stayed, and placed on 18 months of probation. The order took effect June 21, 2000.

Wiggins represented a corporation in the collection of accounts receivable; he was required to remit the company’s portion of all the money collected on its behalf. Although he collected numerous checks over the course of nine months, he did not turn over any funds to the client.

The client fired Wiggins and despite repeated demands for an accounting, he did not pay any funds for nine months.

He stipulated that he did not promptly pay client funds, failed to provide an accounting, failed to return client files for more than a year and a half, and used his client trust account as a personal account, commingling personal and client funds.

In mitigation, Wiggins has no record of discipline. His delay in paying monies, returning files and accounting for client funds was exacerbated by a fire in his office and the Northridge earthquake, both of which caused damage to his office and its contents and resulted in the dislocation of his practice.

DONALD JOSEPH ZAITZOW [#99213], 47, of San Diego was suspended for one year, stayed, and was placed on one year of probation with a 75-day actual suspension. The order took effect June 21, 2000.

Zaitzow stipulated to misconduct in four consolidated cases, each the result of practicing law while suspended for non-payment of bar dues.

He was previously publicly reproved for failing to perform legal services competently, communicate with a client, or return an unearned fee and client file. He did not comply with the conditions of the reproval.

In mitigation, Zaitzow suffers from severe diabetes-related health problems, including a heart condition and symptoms which affected his mental ability to concentrate and attend to his responsibilities.

He has reduced his practice, handling fewer than 10 cases.

HOWARD STEPHEN LEVINE [#61881], 50, of Arleta was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a six-month actual suspension, and was ordered to comply with rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect June 22, 2000.

Levine stipulated to mishandling client funds in two personal injury matters.

After receiving settlement funds and depositing them in his client trust account, Levine allowed the balance in the account to fall below the required amount, he did not provide an accounting to his clients when asked to do so, he misappropriated funds and he wrote checks against insufficient funds. His acts constituted moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Levine had no record of discipline for almost 25 years, he completed the bar’s trust accounting class, and he no longer practices.

JONATHAN ROBERT ADLER [#49989], 59, of Beverly Hills was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a six-month actual suspension and until he makes restitution, and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect June 23, 2000.

Adler was charged with failing to report to the State Bar a $1,100 sanction imposed by a Los Angeles court and with making misrepresentations in quarterly reports while he was on disciplinary probation.

He stipulated that he did not pay the sanction and that two probation reports contained inaccuracies, but he disputed the sanction order and argued that if it were void, he would not be required to report it to the bar.

The sanction was imposed in the first of two unlawful detainer actions. In the second action, Adler obtained a $26,000 judgment against the opposing party. He argued that he was entitled to one-third of that judgment and therefore has the right of set-off against the sanction claim.

However, according to a finding by State Bar Court Judge Carlos Velarde, who rejected Adler’s arguments, there is no court order granting Adler the right to set off his claim, and the sanction order resulted from the first, not the second unlawful detainer action granting his client the $26,000 judgment.

Velarde found that Adler failed to report the sanction to the bar within 30 days and disobeyed a court order. He also found that Adler failed to comply with probation conditions.

Adler has a record of three prior discipines. In 1994, he was suspended for practicing law while suspended for non-payment of bar dues over a four-year period. The following year, he was disciplined for improperly withdrawing from employment, and in 1997, he was again disciplined for failing to perform legal services competently, return client files or keep his client informed.

In mitigation, Adler spent a large part of his career in public service and has done pro bono work for more than 20 years.

JUDITH A. FINCH [#114851], 64, of Alamo was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on two years of probation with an actual 30-day suspension and until she demonstrates her rehabilitation and satisfies a judgment entered in Alameda County Superior Court. If the suspension exceeds 90 days, she must comply with rule 955. The order took effect Aug. 16, 2000,

Finch stipulated to three acts of misconduct relating to entering into business agreements with a client.

In the first instance, Finch and her husband bought a condominium in 1988 with a client and her husband. By doing so, Finch entered into a business agreement with a client whose terms were not in writing and to which the client did not give written consent.

In 1991, Finch and her husband accepted personal loans of $10,000 from the client, promising to repay the loans over time. Finch stipulated that she entered into a business transaction which was unfair to the client, the terms were not disclosed to or consented to in writing by the client, and Finch did not advise the client to seek independent counsel.

In 1992, the client arranged a $50,000 loan to refinance the 1988 loan related to the purchase of the condominium. The loan was to be secured by the client’s residence and Finch and her husband were to repay one-half of the principle plus interest. In 1996, the terms of the refinance agreement were put in writing and post-dated to 1992.

The terms of both the $10,000 loan and the refinance agreement were unfair because no collateral was provided by Finch and her husband and no promissory note was executed to memorialize the Finches’ obligations.

The client eventually sued Finch for malpractice and Finch and her husband for breach of contract  and won a judgment of $50,000 which has not been paid.

In mitigation, Finch has no record of discipline since her 1984 admission to the bar.

INTERIM SUSPENSION

SIMONA ROSALES BAKKER [#98225], 54, of San Diego was placed on interim suspension May 1, 2000, following convictions for two counts of concealment of assets, and one count each of making false statements in bankruptcy proceedings, money laundering and filing false tax returns, all felonies involving moral turpitude. She was ordered to comply with rule 955.

KENT KLOKOW [#71519], 51, of Santa Cruz was placed on interim suspension May 1, 2000, following his conviction for felony possession of a controlled substance (cocaine). He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

RALPH JOHN LEARDO [#97066], 51, of Brisbane was placed on interim suspension May 1, 2000, following his conviction for one count of possession of a controlled substance, a felony, and one count of driving under the influence of alcohol, a misdemeanor. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

DANA HUGH ANDERSON [#59081], 55, of Fresno was placed on interim suspension May 13, 2000, following his conviction of one count of driving under the influence of alcohol with three priors. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

CRISTETA SAIOT PAGUIRIGAN [#115992], 40, of Los Angeles was placed on interim suspension May 30, 2000, following her conviction for two counts of grand theft. She was ordered to comply with rule 955.

RICHARD JOHN MATHIAS [#137485], 37, of Los Angeles was placed on interim suspension May 30, 2000, following convictions for possession of methamphetamine for sale, transportation of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession for sale and the sale of ketamine, and possession with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, all felonies. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

DOUGLAS BRIAN KANE [#92752], 50, of Santa Maria was placed on interim suspension May 30, 2000, following his conviction of one count of possession of a controlled substance. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

DAIN ROY BIRKLEY [#69884], 53, of Modesto was placed on interim suspension May 30, 2000, following convictions for manufacturing a controlled substance and possession for sale of a controlled substance. Both were felonies involving methamphetamine. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

SHAPOUR SHAWN KHASTOO [#134194], 53, of Beverly Hills was placed on interim suspension June 11, 2000, following a conviction for making a false statement on a federal tax return. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

SAM L. STONE [#37716], 62, of Fortuna was placed on interim suspension June 22, 2000, following a conviction for felony drunk driving; he had three prior DUI convictions within the past seven years. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

ROBERT L. FENTON [#56982], 51, of Monterey was placed on interim suspension June 30, 2000, following his conviction for offering a bribe to a public officer. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

RESIGNATIONS/CHARGES PENDING
LARRY A. MORSE [#80441], 58, of Stanton (June 23, 2000)
SUSPENSION/FAILURE TO PASS PRE

RICHARD CARL CAMINO [#79847], 53, of Newport Beach (March 22, 2000)

LARRY HOWARD KREUEGER [#46885], 57, of Sherman Oaks (March 22, 2000)

HOWARD CRAIG KNADLER [#85063], 48, of Colfax (April 7, 2000)

GEORGE ANTHONY CREQUE [#115580], 45, of Willow Springs (April 24, 2000)

DEBBIE RUTH DETRIXHE [#102659], 45, of Hermosa Beach (April 24, 2000)

CARL ERIC MUNSON [#116881], 51, of Los Angeles (April 24, 2000)

JEREMY ANDREW ARCHDEACON [#83167], 50, of Oakland (May 22, 2000)

IRIS Z. SPECTOR [#107506], 42, of Corona Del Mar (June 1, 2000)

MICHAEL DAVID MARK [#112959], 42, of Los Angeles (June 2, 2000)

R. SCOTT FERRIS [#101672], 45, of Hemet (June 12, 2000)

IRIS LYNNE JOHNSON-BRIGHT [#91735], 48, of Culver City (June 12, 2000)

JAMES TERRILL LOCKE [#127516], 52, of Sacramento (June 12, 2000)

PUBLIC REPROVAL

JEFFREY SCOTT DOGGETT [#147235], 38, of San Diego (Feb. 9, 2000)

CHRISTOPHER COGLEY [#79263], 52, of Phoenix (Feb. 16, 2000)

FRANZ EDWARD KRELL JR. [#112895], 44, of La Jolla (March 11, 2000)

PAUL RAYMOND SHANKMAN [#113608], 43, of Redondo Beach (April 8, 2000)

JOSE MARCELINO ONTIVERAS [#69245], 56, of Ventura (April 9, 2000)

JOHN MICHAEL KELLY [#44531], 61, of Santa Monica (May 8, 2000)

REINSTATEMENT

JOHN MICHAEL GEORGE [#80084], 54, of Santa Ana (March 15, 2000)

PATRICIA ANN LYNCH [#101711], 45, of Santa Ana (March 24, 2000)