Though he drowned his high-powered legal career
in alcoholism, MICHAEL KEITH BRADY [#113011], 49, of Sacramento
has found several second chances along the road to recovery. Now the
former lawyer is hoping for another shot at being a member of the
State Bar: Less than two weeks after he was summarily disbarred, a
trial judge vacated the criminal conviction that sparked the
The California Supreme Court on June 20 took the
State Bar's recommendation and summarily disbarred Brady for moral
turpitude based on 1998 convictions of receiving stolen property and
auto theft. But after he completed a court-ordered stint in a state
prison rehabilitation center, charges were dismissed July 2 in a nunc
pro tunc order by Sacramento County Judge Gary E. Ransom.
State Bar officials are currently considering
what to do in light of the dismissal, which could allow the Supreme
Court to reconsider the automatic disbarment.
Brady was disbarred even after he challenged the
constitutionality of Business and Professions Code §6102(c), which
allows for summary disbarment of any attorney convicted of a felony
involving moral turpitude.
He alleged the statute usurps the inherent
authority of the Supreme Court by barring consideration of mitigating
factors - in this case, that the charges could be dismissed - and
violates separation of powers.
Brady conceded the offenses were serious, but
noted that he sought treatment and
had been a respected attorney prior to his spiral into alcohol
and drug use, which he said was part of a "severe reaction" to the
execution of multiple murder-er David Edwin Mason. In 1993, Brady,
then a prominent criminal defense attorney, helped Mason end his
habeas corpus appeals so he could face the death penalty.
His subsequent abuse of alcohol and
methamphetamine led to client abandonment, a ruined marriage and
homelessness. He was suspended in August 1998 for failing to perform
legal services competently when he failed to appear at several
Department of Motor Vehicles hearings on behalf of a client and also
didn't appear at the jury trial.
In a separate case, three more counts of
incompetence were dismissed when the bar began seeking Brady's
disbarment. Until June, he had been on interim suspension in
connection with the Sacramento County criminal case.
He said he pleaded no contest to the criminal
charges with the understanding they could be dropped upon completion
of a drug rehabilitation program.
"(Brady) should not now be able to undo the
consequences of his serious felony conviction. He should have been
aware when he entered the plea that the conviction could result in
summary disbarment," bar counsel wrote in response to Brady's
But since the trial judge's order to vacate,
Brady's attorneys have been working to win him a hearing before the
State Bar Court in the hope he will be reinstated.
State Sen. John Burton, D-San Francisco, hired
Brady as a consultant after he emerged from rehab. Brady has helped
with the implementation of drug-court initiative Proposition 36 and is
currently leading the creation of California's first comprehensive
substance-abuse program for attorneys, a program sponsored by the
State Bar. The recovery program legislation, authored by Burton, was
approved by the legislature but was recently sent back by Gov. Gray
Davis for amendment.