KALIEH RIE HONISH [#176396], 32, of Montebello
was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on three years of
probation with a 90-day actual suspension, and was ordered to take the
MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect July 21, 2001.
Honish stipulated to misconduct in two cases,
both involving her failure to perform legal services competently and a
failure to take steps to protect her clients' interests when they
In the first matter, Honish was hired to
represent a client who allegedly was misdiagnosed by his physicians.
Honish sued a hospital and five doctors for malpractice and loss of
She did not respond to a request for admissions
or to verify the response when it was filed. The court ultimately
granted summary judgment for all the defendants.
Honish closed her office without notifying the
clients, who hired a new attorney. She did not provide the client file
to the new lawyer, who was unable to continue with his representation
of the clients.
In a personal injury case, Honish referred her
client, a minor, to a physical therapy clinic where he was treated for
six months. During the treatment, the client phoned Honish repeatedly
but received only two responses. When the client visited Honish at her
office, she said she would proceed with the lawsuit when she heard
from Medi-Cal. Mean-while, the client was receiving phone calls and
collection letters seeking payment of almost $7,000 in medical bills.
The physical therapy clinic also attempted to
call Honish to no avail. She closed her office without telling the
client and disconnected her phone. One day before the client's 19th
birthday, when the statute of limitations was due to expire,
Honish's law partner or associate filed a lawsuit, almost three
years after Honish had been retained. Four months later, she signed a
substitution of attorney form and provided the client's file to a
In mitigation, she cooperated with the bar's
The probation of NUJYA A. STRAWDER [#112402],
43, of Anaheim was revoked, the previous stay of suspension was
lifted and she was actually suspended for 60 days and placed on four
years of probation. The order took effect July 21, 2001.
Strawder failed to comply with probation
conditions attached to a 1998 discipline: she did not file three
quarterly probation reports on time or attend ethics school or client
trust accounting school.
The discipline was imposed for charging an
unconscionable fee, failing to pay court-ordered sanctions, perform
legal services competently, deposit client funds in a trust account or
communicate with a client, and for committing an act of moral
In mitigation, she had serious family, emotional
and financial problems stemming from a nasty divorce and child custody
dispute and wound up living in her car and various hotels. She also
had pneumonia. Her problems made it extremely difficult to meet her
SAM L. STONE [#37716], 63, of Fortuna was
suspended for two years, stayed, placed on five years of probation
with a 12-month actual suspension, and was ordered to prove his
rehabilitation and take the MPRE within one year. Credit will be given
for the period of interim suspension which began June 22, 2000. The
order took effect Aug.19, 2001.
In March 2000, Stone pleaded guilty to his fourth
driving under the influence charge in seven years. It also was his
fifth alcohol-related conviction and sixth driving-related conviction.
He was sentenced to 180 days in a residential recovery program, five
years of probation, and a $2,700 fine, and his driver's license was
revoked for four years.
Stone received a private reproval with public
disclosure in 1993, following alcohol-related driving convictions.
WILLIAM WONG WOO [#98489], 53, of Santa Ana
was suspended for 18 months, stayed, actually suspended for 120 days
and until the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate, and was
ordered to comply with rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two
years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Aug.
In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court
found that Woo practiced law while suspended from practice. In one
matter, he filed a substitution of attorney to represent a client in
superior court, and in another matter, he filed a complaint and
several supporting documents.
The court also found that Woo's actions
amounted to moral turpitude.
A 1998 discipline was the result of 14 counts of
misconduct in five matters, including failing to perform legal
services competently, communicate with clients, refund unearned fees,
provide accountings of client funds and cooperate with the bar's
investigation. Woo also failed to properly withdraw from
representation, he did not obtain a client's written consent to a
potentially adverse representation, and he committed an act of moral
turpitude by failing to disclose a material fact and
GILBERT M. ARCHULETA JR. [#65066], 62, of
Manhattan Beach was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on
two years of probation with an actual 45-day suspension and was
ordered to prove his rehabilitation and take the MPRE within one year.
The order took effect Aug. 25, 2001.
Archuleta was convicted in 1996 of conspiracy, a
misdemeanor, for his part in a money laundering scheme which involved
making contributions to a candidate in a name other than the name by
which the contributor was identified for legal reasons.
Archuleta was an attorney in a Los Angeles law
firm which handled high profile political work, including consulting
and lobbying. (See following story.) The money laundering scheme,
which operated from 1989 to 1992, involved funneling hundreds of
thousands of dollars in small campaign checks from a large network of
friends, relatives and associates - the named contributors - to
various political candidates. Money received from certain
corporations, who were the real contributors, was used to pay back the
He stipulated that his conduct involved moral
In mitigation, he has no record of discipline, he
demonstrated remorse and rehabilitation and he cooperated with the
ARTHUR K. SNYDER [#30600], 69, of Los Angeles
was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of
probation with a six-month actual suspension and was ordered to take
the MPRE within one year and prove his rehabilitation. The order took
effect Aug. 25, 2001.
A former Los Angeles city councilman, Snyder
stipulated that he was convicted in 1996 of one count of conspiracy
and eight counts of making campaign contributions in a name other than
the actual contributor, all misdemeanors. The convictions were the
result of Snyder's role in an influence-peddling scheme.
He operated a law firm engaged in high profile
political work, including consulting and lobbying. The scheme involved
funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in small campaign checks
from a large network of friends, relatives and associates - the
named contributors - to various political candidates. Money received
from certain corporations, who were the real contributors, was used to
pay back the named contributors.
The scheme lasted from 1989 to 1992.
Snyder also was found to have violated several
anti-laundering provisions of the Political Reform Act in separate
He stipulated that his conduct involved moral
In mitigation, he has no record of discipline,
cooperated with the bar's investigation and demonstrated
CARLOS E. CASTANEDA [#140786], 44, of San
Diego was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on three years
of probation with an actual 30-day suspension and was ordered to take
the MPRE within a year. The order took effect Aug. 25, 2001.
Castaneda stipulated to misconduct in two
matters. He filed a complaint in a civil dispute but did not respond
to discovery requests. The court granted a motion to compel discovery
and sanctioned Castaneda $600. He did not tell his client about either
When Castaneda did not comply with either order,
the case was dismissed and he was sanctioned $3,023.
The client hired a new attorney who made three
unsuccessful attempts to obtain the file from Castaneda.
He stipulated that he failed to perform legal
services competently, provide a client file or keep his client
informed about significant developments in his case.
When the client complained to the State Bar,
Castaneda did not cooperate with the investigation.
In the second matter, Castaneda stipulated that
he did not comply with probation conditions attached to a 1999 public
reproval. He did not submit four quarterly probation reports, take the
MPRE or attend ethics school. The reproval was issued as a result of
his failure to provide competent legal services.
DANIEL MARK CHESTNUT [#152136], 49, of Norwalk
was suspended for four years, stayed, and placed on four years of
probation with an actual 18-month suspension. The order took effect
Aug. 25, 2001.
Chestnut stipulated to nine counts of misconduct
in five consolidated cases.
In a divorce matter, Chestnut's client signed a
fee agreement which capped his fee at $1,500 and did not set a fee for
paralegal work. He later tried to collect costs and attorney's fees
totalling more than $13,000, even though the court ordered his
client's husband to pay him $2,000 in fees and costs.
In addition, he did not finalize the divorce for
more than three years, responded to only one of 12 phone calls from
his client and when he was fired, he failed to provide the file to the
client's new lawyer.
He handled matters for two clients while he was
suspended from practice, did not release another client's papers
when he hired a new lawyer, did not respond to four messages from
another client and communicated with a represented party.
Chestnut was disciplined twice previously.
DENISE DAVIS MOOREHEAD [#136369], 48, of
Oakland was suspended for two years, stayed, actually suspended
for one year and until she makes restitution and the State Bar Court
grants a motion terminating the suspension, and was ordered to comply
with rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, she must
prove her rehabilitation. The order took effect Aug. 25, 2001.
In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court
found that in one client matter, Moorehead held herself out as
entitled to practice while she was suspended, failed to perform legal
services competently, keep the client apprised of developments in his
case or return an unearned fee, made a misrepresentation to her
client, and did not keep her address current with the State Bar.
Moorehead was suspended in 1999 for failing to
pay her bar dues. During the suspension, she accepted representation
of a client and a $2,000 fee. She faxed a note to the client about a
month later saying she had drafted a complaint, when in fact she had
not done so.
A month later, the client demand a statement of
his account and asked that the complaint be filed immediately.
Moorehead did not respond, and several days later, in a meeting with
the client, promised to have the complaint and a letter to opposing
counsel ready within two weeks.
When nothing was done and Moorehead did not
respond to phone calls, faxes or pages, the client filed a small
claims action and won a judgment of $2,000 and $58 in costs. It was
Moorehead also was suspended last year for
failing to perform competently, report judicial sanctions or maintain
respect due to the courts, and for violating a court order and
advancing facts prejudicial to her client's reputation.
JAMES L. SIMS [#80672], 61, of San Francisco
was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation
with an actual 90-day suspension, and was ordered to make restitution,
take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took
effect Aug. 25, 2001. Sims subsequently resigned Oct. 5.
Sims stipulated to misconduct in two matters.
He represented a client in seeking a marriage
dissolution and spousal support. When the client's "husband"
denied they were married, the matters were bifurcated; the court found
Sims' client had the status of putative spouse and tentatively
awarded attorney fees and costs to her.
The court later ordered both parties to provide
Income and Expense Declara-tions (IEDs) to one another, but Sims did
not do so.
The judge ordered sanctions of $2,000 against
Sims and his client, dismissed the client's motion for attorney fees
and spousal support and abated a $913 monthly support order after
finding that the necessary paperwork was never filed despite several
continuances. The court also issued a second order that Sims prepare
an IED, but he did not do so. He also never paid the sanctions.
He stipulated that he failed to comply with a
court order, report the sanctions to the State Bar or cooperate with
the bar's subsequent investigation.
In another matter, Sims represented a client in a
third party liability claim arising from an on-the-job injury. He
settled the claim for $15,000 and was to withhold $4,000 to pay
medical bills. He allowed the balance in his client trust account to
fall below $4,000 on two occasions and did not pay the medical bill
for five years.
Sims stipulated that he failed to maintain
entrusted funds in his client trust account, promptly pay funds as
requested by his client, and did not cooperate with a later
investigation by the bar.
In mitigation, he has no record of prior
GARY ALAN SMITH [#78234], 56, of Fresno
was suspended for one year, stayed, actually suspended for 60 days and
until he makes restitution and the State Bar Court grants a motion to
terminate the suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE. If the
suspension exceeds 90 days, he must comply with rule 955; if it
exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took
effect Aug. 25, 2001.
In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court
found that Smith committed eight acts of misconduct in two client
matters and did not keep his address current with the State Bar.
In the first case, he was employed to seek a
judgment against his client's former tenants for damage to property.
The client finally reached Smith after many phone calls and a letter,
and Smith promised to obtain the judgment by a certain date. When the
client learned Smith had done nothing on the case, he fired him and
asked that his file be returned and his fee refunded. Smith moved from
his office and did not notify the client of his new location, nor did
he return the file or refund the fee.
In the second matter, Smith did not return at
least 20 phone calls from his client or pursue the case.
JOSEPH WALCH [#56192], 61, of Los Angeles
was suspended for five years, stayed, placed on five years of
probation with an actual 18-month suspension and was ordered to prove
his rehabilitation, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order
took effect Aug. 25, 2001.
Walch stipulated to misconduct in 13 matters, all
stemming from his failure to supervise his office. He was the sole
proprietor and principal attorney for the Law Offices of Joseph Walch
when he says he became seriously ill in 1990 and was frequently
prevented from engaging in his day-to-day work. His inability to work
lasted until 1996.
Walch delegated the responsibility for running
the office to his wife, Susanne Walch, who had been a lawyer only
since 1989. Although Joseph Walch claims he adequately trained his
wife to handle his practice, he admits he did not supervise her
activities. Susanne Walch has resigned from the bar with charges
Joseph Walch's misconduct includes failing to
notify clients that he was away from his office, change his
letterhead, supervise the office, and audit or verify the accounting
of his business bank accounts, client trust accounts, settlement
moneys or fees.
As a result of numerous complaints about Walch,
the State Bar brought an action in Los Angeles Superior Court to
assume jurisdiction over his law practice, which was ordered in 1997.
Walch has remained on inactive enrollment since that time.
One example of the misconduct stemmed from a
personal injury case which settled for almost $20,000. Susanne Walch
deposited the check in the couple's client trust account, but all
the funds were subsequently withdrawn over Joseph Walch's signature
and the client received nothing. When the account eventually was
closed by the bank, it had a negative balance. In addition, the client
could not reach Walch, despite repeated phone calls.
Walch stipulated that his reckless and/or grossly
negligent conduct in failing to supervise the operations of his office
resulted in a failure to maintain client funds, communicate with a
client and misappropriation, an act of moral turpitude.
In mitigation, a gastroenterologist said Walch
suffers from Crohn's Disease, which has made him unable to work. He
was hospitalized several times over the course of the misconduct, has
numerous physical ailments and is considered disabled under the
provisions of the Social Security Act.
Another physician testified that Walch's
illness and the side effects of his many medications made it extremely
difficult if not impossible to work.
The probation of JOAN BAUMGARTEN [#108909],
50, of North Palm Springs was revoked, the stay of suspension was
lifted and she was actually suspended for two years and until she
proves her rehabilitation, and she was ordered to comply with rule
955. Credit toward the actual suspension will be given for a period of
involuntary inactive enrollment which began April 20, 2001. The order
took effect Sept. 6, 2001.
Baumgarten failed to comply with probation
conditions attached to a 2000 discipline. She did not submit three
quarterly probation reports, two mental health reports or a law office
The discipline was the result of her failure to
communicate with clients, perform legal services competently, promptly
refund unearned fees or cooperate with the bar's investigation.
Baumgarten also was disciplined in 1997 for
misconduct in three cases - failing
to perform legal services competently, pay court-ordered sanctions,
return client files or cooperate with the bar's investigation. She
did not participate in the most recent proceedings.
KENNETH MARTIN CHRISTISON [#52281], 59, of
Novato was suspended for five years, stayed, placed on five years
of probation with a six-month actual suspension and was ordered to
take the MPRE within a year and comply with rule 955. The order took
effect Sept. 6, 2001.
The State Bar Court found that Christison
committed three acts of misconduct - writing checks against
insufficient funds, commingling personal and trust funds and failing
to cooperate with the bar's investigation.
Christison tesitified that he does not have a
general checking account because he bounced a check several years ago
and there are hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax liens against
him. He therefore operates on a cash basis or used his client trust
account for both business and personal purposes.
His clients often wired fees directly to the
trust account, some to be distributed to other clients and some to
cover his personal checks. Between September 1998 and February 200,
Christison wrote 34 checks totalling nearly $26,260 against
insufficient funds on the trust account. He said he often wrote checks
assuming funds would be there without verifying whether money had been
In addition, he wrote at least 20 checks,
totaling more than $16,600, for payment of personal debts between
September 1998 and February 1999.
There is no showing that any client ever lost any
money due to Christison's activities. He said his clients knew about
his financial circumstances and that he was using the trust account
for personal and business purposes.
In mitigation, Christison has done pro bono work
for members of his church and he has been active in scouting and
coached several teams.
He was disciplined in 1993 for misconduct
committed from 1986 through 1988 - commingling personal and client
funds and writing bad checks and for failing to pay court-ordered
WILLIAM JOSEPH HAMILTON [#92688], 52, of West
Los Angeles was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three
years of probation with an actual 18-month suspension, and was ordered
to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Sept.
Hamilton stipulated to misconduct in three cases.
He made six courts appearances in a criminal case
while suspended from practice. He also did not comply with the
probation conditions attached to the discipline - he failed to file
three quarterly reports or three affidavits certifying continued
enrollment in the bar's law office management and technology
Hamilton also failed to comply with probation
conditions attached to another discipline; he did not complete ethics
school by the required deadline.
In mitigation, Hamilton was under severe
financial stress at the time, he demonstrated remorse and cooperated
with the bar's investigation and no clients were harmed by his