Attorney suspended after helping secure fatal drugs


Attorney DAVID KRUSKAL ALLEN [#114365], 46, of Portland, Ore., received an actual suspension of one year after the State Bar of California found that he demonstrated "a lapse in judgment" which resulted in the death of a homeless man he had befriended. The suspension, which took effect Oct. 17, 1996, also included an order to pass the MPRE and comply with rule 955.

In late 1995, Allen was found guilty of violating Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 161.405 and 475.992, attempted possession of a controlled substance, a felony which was later reduced to a misdemeanor.

Allen met the man in a downtown Portland tavern and offered to buy him a drink after hearing his story of drug addiction and liver disease. He refused, saying he would die if he continued to drink or use drugs, but did take up Allen's offer of shelter in his home.

Over the course of the next few weeks, Allen ran into the man on several occasions and periodically offered him food and shelter. On one extremely cold night, Allen saw the man streetwalking, presumably for prostitution clients. He convinced the man to seek shelter by paying for him to stay in a flophouse.

Allen consistently encouraged the man to enter a drug treatment program, but the man said he was afraid because of his previous failures at detoxification. Allen eventually made arrangements for the man to enter a detoxification program in Vancouver, Wash. However, after dropping him off at the facility, Allen learned that he never signed in and was later jailed on a shoplifting charge and other outstanding warrants.

Allen once again made arrangements for his new friend and was given permission to transport him from the jail to an in-patient drug facility. Acceptance in the program hinged upon his drug-free test results.

Because the man's release was delayed, making him too late to check into the drug facility that day, Allen obtained permission to take him home for the night.

The man was in an agitated state when Allen arrived and said that he used methamphetamine while in jail and needed some drugs to "take the edge off."

Allen became increasingly alarmed at the man's explosive condition, fearing that he would run away and violently rob someone. He drove the man to downtown Portland to connect with his drug dealer and gave him $40. After they arrived back at Allen's home, the man injected himself with heroin and went to sleep. The next morning Allen found him dead.

The medical examiner determined that death was caused by a lethal dose of heroin, but no trace of methamphetamine or other drugs was found in the man's blood or urine.

In mitigation, Allen has been a member of the bar since 1984, with no prior record of discipline in California or Oregon. He cooperated fully with law enforcement agencies and the bar's investigation, demonstrated good character and remorse, and took steps to acknowledge his wrongdoing.

From 1982-90 Allen was a solo practitioner with an emphasis in indigent criminal defense, juvenile law, personal injury and business litigation.

From 1990-94 he worked as a deputy state public defender in Oregon handling appeals primarily from felony convictions. Since 1994, he has been a contract lawyer and editor of law-related publications.

He has been active in many community organizations, including the ACLU and the Oregon Gay and Lesbian Law Association. He has authored many publications for the Oregon State Bar and the Oregon Defense Attorneys Association.

Numerous judges, lawyers and community organizations attested to Allen's good character and excellent reputation.

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