More than 151,870 attorneys are eligible to practice law in California. Many attorneys share the same names.
All discipline reports should be read carefully for names, ages, addresses and bar numbers. Attorneys must report address changes within 30 days.
LAWRENCE J. MURRAY [#57873], 55, of San Diego was disbarred effective July 20, 1996, and ordered to comply with rule 955. Murray was disbarred following his failure to comply with rule 955, a requirement attached to a 1994 suspension order.
At that time, Murray's misconduct involved a breach of contract matter. He failed to file proper papers and then requested dismissal of the action without telling his client. The case was dismissed without prejudice.
Murray filed a second complaint, again failing to advise his client and performing no work on the case for more than a year. He mistakenly filed a request for entry of default, but the answer had been filed at least four months earlier.
When his client hired a new lawyer and asked for a refund of legal fees, Murray refused. The client later won a fee arbitration award, and restitution was part of the 1994 bar suspension order.
Mitigating circumstances at the time of the misconduct included a nervous breakdown, for which he received treatment. He voluntarily placed himself on inactive status in 1993.
Murray also was publicly reproved in 1990.
THOMAS HENRY KEPNER [#61711], 49, of Los Angeles was disbarred effective July 20, 1996, and ordered to comply with rule 955.
Kepner was disbarred following his failure to comply with rule 955, a requirement of a May 1995 discipline order.
At that time, Kepner received a five-year stayed suspension with three years probation and three years actual suspension and until he made restitution.
The restitution totaled $21,000 and involved seven clients. Among other things, between November 1991 and May 1994, Kepner settled five personal injury cases and deposited the funds into client trust accounts at two banks. He allowed the trust accounts to fall below the required balances.
In several cases, he failed to inform clients of his receipt of the settlement funds and misappropriated the money.
In addition, Kepner was disciplined for several other acts of misconduct, including failure to perform competently and supervise his staff in connection with his work on numerous (2,100) workers' compensation cases as well as many personal injury cases.
Kepner was admitted to the bar in 1974.
MARSHALL L. BITKOWER [#47478], 53, of Encinowas suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years probation with a 30-day actual suspension, and was ordered to take the CPRE within one year. The order took effect June 17, 1996.
Bitkower failed to deposit settlement drafts in his client trust account and did not keep a record of the cash distribution to one client and payments of his clients' medical bills. Although Bitkower was charged with additional counts, including misappropriation, the State Bar Court found he did not violate any other professional conduct rules.
Bitkower's problems resulted from his representation of a couple in a personal injury matter. His associate negotiated a settlement for the couple based on what the attorney thought was law firm policy regarding the distribution of settlement funds.
When the funds were received, however, the clients received less money than they expected. At one point, they asked Bitkower not to deposit the funds in his client trust account, and he paid their share to them in cash.
The bar court judge found there were significant credibility issues with the testimony of several key witnesses, including the clients. One of the witnesses was a co-defendant in a suit Bitkower filed following the bitter dissolution of his law firm.
Bitkower originally was admitted to the bar in 1971, but following problems with alcoholism and cocaine addiction, he resigned in 1982. The following year, he pleaded no contest to grand theft as a result of mishandling client settlement funds.
He was reinstated to the bar in 1991.
Although he has no prior record of discipline, Bitkower's previous resignation with charges pending and his admitted misappropriation of client funds in the early 1980s were considered aggravating factors.
However, Bitkower produced numerous character witnesses. The court also noted that although his action in the personal injury case was improper, no one was harmed except Bitkower, who was vulnerable to false claims by an angry client and acted in good faith.
JOHN ALROY PETTIS [#51334], 49, of Martinez was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years probation with an actual 60-day suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect July 7, 1996.
Over a five-year period, Pettis had fee arrangements with several non-lawyers who received either 25 or 50 percent of attorney's fees on cases for which they performed certain tasks.
In mitigation, no clients complained or were harmed, and Pettis has no prior record of discipline.
HENRY WILLIAM SANDS [#35187], 63, of Granada Hills was suspended for five years, stayed, placed on five years probation with an actual 20-month suspension and until he resolves a fee dispute with a client, and must comply with rule 955 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect July 7, 1996.
Sands admitted misconduct in three cases. In the first, his client paid a $1,000 fee and gave Sands title to his car. In accepting title to the car, Sands acquired an interest adverse to his client without disclosing the terms in writing and allowing his client an opportunity to seek independent legal advice.
When the client became dissatisfied with Sands, he asked for both the fee and the car to be returned to him. Sands did neither and the client won a small claims judgment against him.
Sands returned the car but not the money, and the client obtained an additional small claims judgment for damage to the car.
The client complained to the State Bar.
Several months later, Sands offered to pay the client $1,000 on condition that the client signed a letter promising to withdraw his complaint to the bar. Although the client signed the letter to get the cash, he forwarded a copy of the letter to the bar.
In the second matter, a client paid Sands a $2,500 fee to file a malpractice suit against another lawyer. There was no written fee agreement.
Sands filed both a complaint and a second amended complaint, but did not properly serve the defendant with either.
The matter was dismissed and an application to set aside the dismissal was denied. However, the court granted Sands' motion for reconsideration but sanctioned him.
Sands then demanded more fees from his client, which she paid. The client provided draft answers to interrogatories in the case, and without reviewing the answers, Sands filed them. He and his client both were sanctioned as a result of the improperly answered questions.
A few days later, Sands demanded payment for past due fees from his client and a future deposit or said he would withdraw from her case. The client sought and obtained reconsideration of the sanctions awarded against her. Sands eventually was relieved from the case.
In the third case, a client paid Sands nearly $15,000 to represent her son, who was charged with robbery. Sands did not obtain the client's written informed consent to Sands' representation.
During a meeting with the mother, Sands made offensive sexual remarks to her.
Sands performed the services for which he was employed, but the defendant was convicted after trial.
In aggravation, Sands was suspended in 1989 and again in 1991 for disciplinary violations. Two years later, in 1993, he was suspended a third time for violating his probation. He also was privately reproved twice -- in 1974 for failure to perform and in 1982 for failure to communicate.
JAMES C. TEVINI [#88159], 56, of Brisbane was suspended for 18 months, stayed, placed on three years probation with a 120-day actual suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect July 7, 1996.
Tevini stipulated to misconduct in three matters. He failed to communicate with a client, account for fees or supervise an associate who appeared on Tevini's behalf although the associate was not admitted to practice in bankruptcy court.
In addition, he used his client trust fund improperly, filed a frivolous pleading in bankruptcy court and failed to pay numerous sanctions imposed by federal, superior and municipal courts.
He did not cooperate with the bar's investigation in any of the three matters.
In mitigation, Tevini developed a debilitating thyroid problem that incapacitated him for six months. He had not been disciplined since his 1979 admission to the bar.
BARBARA TRUMAN ZORR [#112693], 47, of Novato was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on two years probation with an actual 60-day suspension, and was ordered to pass the MPRE within one year. The order took effect July 7, 1996.
In two cases, Zorr stipulated to failing to perform legal services competently, respond to status inquiries and return client files, and to misrepresenting the status of a case.
In the first matter, two clients hired Zorr to seek recourse for defects in a home they purchased. Her attempts to settle the matter were unsuccessful and the clients asked her to file suit. They paid Zorr $3,500 in advanced fees in addition to more than $2,200 they had paid for her earlier work.
Zorr never filed suit but prepared a "status report" for the clients containing fabricated documents, including interrogatories, a case number and the name of an attorney who supposedly represented the defendant.
Through a new attorney, the clients reached a settlement with Zorr, but she never made any payments to them. They then won a small claims judgment against Zorr for $5,000. Zorr reached an agreement to pay off the judgment in monthly installments.
In the second matter, after failing in her efforts to rescind a social security penalty assessed against her client, Zorr stopped returning her client's calls and failed to promptly return the client's file.
In mitigation, Zorr cooperated with the bar's investigation and had no record of discipline since her 1983 admission to the bar.
EDISON PENROW McDANIELS [#33239], 73, of San Bernardino was suspended for 120 days, stayed, and placed on probation for two years, effective July 20, 1996. He was ordered to take the MPRE.
In 1993, McDaniels was hired by a client to bring a lawsuit on his behalf in federal court against all judges for alleged civil rights violations which occurred in the course of a superior court case.
McDaniels received payment of $7,500 for his services but he failed to prepare or file a complaint, return the unearned fees at the client's request and return the client's file, property or papers.
In aggravation, McDaniels has a prior record of discipline. He received private reprovals in 1974, 1990 and in 1993. The latter two were the result of an incapacitating medical condition McDaniels suffered in 1987 and 1988.
In mitigation, McDaniels acted in good faith and his misconduct did not harm anyone. He mistakenly believed that his non-refundable retainer agreement with the client was valid.
He also cooperated with the bar's investigation and has practiced civil rights law since his admission to the State Bar in 1962.
As a condition of probation, McDaniels must arrange and pay for a fee arbitration proceeding determining what amount, if any, should be refunded to his client.
BEN DARWIN HYDE [#134972], 38, of San Diego was suspended for one year, stayed, and placed on probation for two years with 30 days actual suspension, effective July 20, 1996. He was ordered to pass the MPRE.
In this default decision, Hyde was found culpable of moral turpitude and failing to perform legal services, communicate with his client and cooperate with the bar's investigation.
In September 1993, Hyde was employed by a father and son to represent the son in his efforts to upgrade his discharge from the Navy and reclassify the grounds for the discharge.
Hyde failed to respond to the clients' repeated telephone messages and a letter requesting an update on the status of the case.
In May 1994, Hyde sent a letter misrepresenting to the son that a petition had been filed with the naval discharge review board in December 1993, and that it would take a long time before it was acted upon. He never supplied a copy of the petition to the client.
The father and son eventually hired another attorney to inquire about the status of the case, but he also was unsuccessful in obtaining information from Hyde.
The State Bar sent numerous letters to Hyde requesting his response to the allegations, but they were never answered.
Hyde's misconduct involved multiple acts of wrongdoing. In addition, his actions harmed his clients when they were forced to hire another attorney to protect their interests.
MARTIN J. McDONAGH [#101086], 40, of Los Angeles was suspended for three years, stayed, and placed on probation for five years with six months actual suspension. The order took effect July 20, 1996. He also was ordered to pass the MPRE and comply with rule 955.
McDonagh's discipline was the result of his misconduct in a personal injury case and a child custody matter.
In the personal injury case, McDonagh failed to make court appearances and his client's case was dismissed. He did not inform his client of the dismissal and instead told him that all was proceeding well.
In the child custody matter, McDonagh failed to prepare and file a proposed order on behalf of his client.
In aggravation, McDonagh has a prior record of discipline. In 1993, he was privately reproved for failing to perform legal services in five different matters.
In 1994, he was disciplined for failing to comply with conditions of the private reproval.
He also failed to make restitution to his former employer and attend required counseling sessions with his psychotherapist.
He was disciplined in 1994, again for failing to comply with probation conditions. McDonagh was admitted to the bar in 1981.
MICHAEL LOUIS McDONALD [#123737], 56, of Rancho Cordova was suspended for three years, stayed, and placed on probation for three years on the condition that he actually be suspended for one year and until he makes restitution.
If the period of suspension exceeds two years, he will remain suspended until he has shown proof of his rehabilitation and fitness to practice law.
He also was ordered to pass the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order was effective July 20, 1996.
In this default decision, McDonald was found culpable of misconduct involving three separate clients. His misconduct included: failure to communicate with clients, perform legal services competently, release client files, promptly return unearned fees and cooperate with the bar's investigation.
In addition, he misappropriated client funds in one matter and committed several client trust account violations.
McDonald was hired by one client to handle a medical malpractice action in 1994, but he neglected to file a complaint or otherwise complete legal services.
He failed to answer the client's numerous telephone calls or respond to a certified letter.
The client went to McDonald's office, fired him and requested the return of his files. McDonald told him to return the next day for the file, but when he did so he was told it was at a copy service. He eventually obtained part of the file and McDonald agreed to forward the remainder, as well as a refund of his $120 advanced fee. However, he neglected to do so.
The bar's office of trial counsel had recommended a one-year actual suspension with two years probation, but the hearing judge found a three-year probation term to be appropriate. "But for the fact that the total amount misappropriated was relatively small [$2,430], the court would recommend disbarment," said the decision.
McDonald's failure to participate in his disciplinary proceedings was noted as "a matter of concern to the court" with the bar court judge adding that McDonald appeared to be "indifferent to his professional obligations or unable to conform his conduct to them."
IRA LEONARD DICKSTEIN [#81806], 50, of Yorba Linda was suspended for 90 days, stayed, and placed on probation for 18 months, effective July 20, 1996. He was ordered to pass the MPRE.
In two lawsuits involving the same client in federal and superior court cases, Dickstein failed to completely perform legal services.
In mitigation, Dickstein was being treated for depression at the time of his misconduct and the side effects of his medication caused him to be drowsy and unfocused on his work. He has since switched to a different medication.
He was admitted to the bar in 1978 and has no prior record of discipline.
WILLIAM LESLIE O'BRYAN [#42335], 59, of Playa Del Rey was suspended for one year, stayed, and placed on probation for three years, effective July 20, 1996. He was ordered to make restitution and pass the MPRE.
O'Bryan's misconduct involved three clients and included failure to perform legal services competently, withdraw properly from a case and return unearned fees.
In one instance, O'Bryan was employed by a woman in 1993 to represent her husband in a federal drug-related criminal matter in Texas.
The woman paid O'Bryan $18,000, but his paralegal neglected to communicate to her that the fee was non-refundable.
O'Bryan went to Texas and spent more than a day working on the case, reviewing evidence and consulting with local counsel. Two weeks after his return to California, the client's husband decided he did not want O'Bryan to continue representation.
The client's wife requested a full refund of the fees, but O'Bryan offered only a partial refund, which was rejected. He did not return any of the fees, despite repeated demands from his client.
O'Bryan's refusal to return any money to his client was considered an aggravating factor. In addition, another client's divorce was delayed substantially and another lost her cause of action due to his misconduct.
Although O'Bryan's misconduct was considered serious, mitigating weight was accorded to his 27-year discipline-free record. Also, he has since changed his office procedures and personnel who contributed to the problems.
NEOMA RUTH KNITTER [#92405], 55, of Desert Hot Springs was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on probation with six months actual suspension, effective July 20, 1996. She was ordered to comply with rule 955.
She also was placed on suspension for failure to pass the professional responsibility examination, a requirement of a May 25, 1995, disciplinary order.
Knitter's current discipline stemmed from her misconduct in handling a probate matter.
Knitter arranged to have her daughter rent a home which was part of an estate she was handling. She later purchased the home, but did not obtain the beneficiary's consent nor a written agreement spelling out the full terms of the sale. She also neglected to advise the beneficiary to seek the advice of another attorney regarding the transaction.
She did not obtain the beneficiary's written consent to terms of the rental and sales transactions, which were deemed unfair and unreasonable.
The property was purchased with no money down and solely in exchange for a promissory note and deed of trust for the full purchase price.
In addition, by delaying the closing of the estate for two years and not promptly arranging for the appointment of the administratrix, she failed to accomplish legal services in a reasonable amount of time.
In aggravation, Knitter has a prior record of discipline. In 1995, she re-ceived a six-month stayed suspension for failing to comply with an agreement in lieu of discipline. At that time, her misconduct also involved a real estate matter.
In a subsequent matter she was hired by a bank to enforce a Colorado judgment in California, but failed to follow through.
In addition, her current misconduct was surrounded by bad faith, dishonesty and concealment, and the unusual real estate transaction evidenced some degree of overreaching.
Her misconduct also significantly harmed her clients and she failed to fully cooperate with the bar's investigation.
WALTER DAVID CHANNELS [#107719], 49, of Santa Ana was suspended for four years, stayed, and placed on probation for four years on the condition that he actually be suspended for 45 days, effective July 20, 1996. He was ordered to make restitution and pass the MPRE.
In four different client matters, Channels' misconduct included failure to communicate, competently perform services and return client files.
In one instance, Channels was hired by a woman in 1991 to represent her son in a criminal appeal. Relatives advanced to Channels $9,500 in attorney's fees. Channels seldom responded to numerous inquiries about the status of the appeal.
He failed to appear at a sentencing hearing on the client's behalf and was later sanctioned by the court for failing to timely file an opening brief.
In June 1993, he was again sanctioned for his failure to prosecute the appeal and the court appointed another attorney for his client.
He did not refund the advanced fees.
In aggravation, Channels has a prior record of discipline. He was privately reproved in 1992 for two matters involving failure to return client files promptly, failure to return unearned fees and performing work on a case after he was dismissed from employment.
In mitigation, Channels took steps to atone for his misconduct in one matter by belatedly completing work on the case. He also suffered from a deep depression and went into total seclusion for four months.
JOHN FREDERICK MURPHY [#57868], 51, of Orange was suspended for 30 days, stayed, and placed on probation for two years, effective July 20, 1996.
Murphy's disciplinary order stemmed from his failure to report to the State Bar three legal malpractice lawsuits filed against him within a 12-month period.
In aggravation, he has a prior record of discipline for failing to communicate, perform legal services and return client files.
In mitigation, his misconduct did not harm any clients. He settled one lawsuit and another was dismissed for lack of merit.
Murphy cooperated with the bar's investigation and he has taken steps to address his office management problems.
JAN LIVINGSTON WARNSHUIS [#54759], 63, of McCall, Idaho, was suspended for one year, stayed, and placed on probation for two years with 90 days actual suspension, effective July 20, 1996. He was ordered to pass the MPRE and comply with rule 955.
In this decision, after a default hearing, Warnshuis was found culpable of the unauthorized practice of law while enrolled as an inactive member of the bar.
Effective Jan. 4, 1994, Warnshuis requested that he be enrolled as an inactive member of the State Bar. However, in a letter brief filed April 4, 1994, with the third district of the state court of appeal, Warnshuis identified himself as "attorney for respondent."
Warnshuis did not respond to bar investigators looking into the matter, nor did he participate in his disciplinary proceedings.
In the bar court decision, it was noted that Warnshuis' failure to keep his address current with the bar demonstrated a lack of attention to his obligation as an attorney and was considered an aggravating factor.
In mitigation, Warnshuis has no prior record of discipline in more than 21 years of practice.
MIGUEL ANGEL VERDUGO [#73020], 51, of Northridge was suspended for four years, stayed, and placed on probation for four years on the condition that he actually be suspended for 60 days and until he meets certain probation requirements, effective July 20, 1996.
If the period of actual suspension exceeds two years, he will remain on actual suspension until he has provided proof of his rehabilitation and fitness to practice law.
If the period of actual suspension exceeds 90 days, he must comply with rule 955.
Verdugo's misconduct involved his failure to comply with conditions of a 1993 disciplinary order. In addition, in one client matter he failed to perform legal services, promptly respond to the client's reasonable status inquiries, keep the client informed of significant developments, properly withdraw from the case and cooperate with the bar's investigation.
In aggravation, Verdugo has a prior record of discipline. He was suspended in 1995, for abandoning a client and failing to communicate. In 1993, he received a stayed suspension for similar misconduct and failure to cooperate with the bar.
In mitigation, he displayed candor and cooperated with the bar's investigation. Also, he suffered severe medical, financial and emotional problems, including damage to his home and office in a 1994 earthquake, the illness and death of his father-in-law, a car accident and maternity-related problems of his wife.
JAMES HARVEY SLOEY [#78180], 47, of Lawndale was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on probation for three years, effective July 20, 1996. He was ordered to pass the MPRE.
Sloey's misconduct involved two instances of failure to perform legal services competently.
In one case, Sloey was the executor of a will which specified that the $132,000 cash assets were to be invested prudently, "with discretion and intelligence" for the deceased's daughter.
However, Sloey lent $102,000 to personal friends for investments in their businesses, including a theater project which involved substantial risk and failed to demonstrate elementary prudence.
When the heir to the estate discovered the loans, Sloey resigned as executor, but was allowed to complete certain activities such as collecting and repayment of the money improperly loaned.
$85,000 loaned to one individual was repaid, but the remainder was deemed uncollectible.
Sloey was ordered to make restitution, but was unable to make full payment.
In mitigation, Sloey was undergoing a divorce at the time, which affected his ability to make sound judgments regarding the investment of the estate's funds. He also was treated for depression during this period.
Sloey was admitted to the bar in 1977 and has no record of prior discipline.
ELLEN MAFRED ROLLINS [#96626], 40, of Long Beach was suspended for six months, stayed, and placed on probation for four years with 60 days actual suspension, effective July 20, 1996. She was ordered to pass the MPRE.
Rollins' misconduct involved her failure to comply with conditions of a 1994 disciplinary order. She failed to file quarterly probation reports and complete a course in law office management by Oct. 10, 1995.
In aggravation, Rollins has a prior record of discipline. She received a private reproval in 1992, but was disciplined again for failing to meet its conditions. She also was disciplined for misconduct which included failure to perform legal services and return unearned fees.
In mitigation, Rollins suffered from financial hardship which caused her to change residences on numerous occasions.
SCOTT DOUGLAS RAPHAEL [#111948], 38, of Camarillo was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on probation for two years, with 45 days actual suspension, effective July 20, 1996.
Raphael was disciplined for failing to report court-ordered sanctions against him to the State Bar and for numerous client trust account violations.
In January 1993, Raphael was sanctioned $2,100 in superior court due to his failures to appear and show cause, as previously ordered. Although he appealed the order, then later abandoned it, he neglected to report the sanctions.
Between March and June 1993, Raphael wrote checks on his client trust account which were returned due to insufficient funds. He also misused the trust fund account for his own use and benefit.
In aggravation, Raphael has a prior record of discipline.
He received a 90-day stayed suspension in 1994, for violating several rules of professional conduct.
In mitigation, Raphael failed to timely report the sanctions because he believed he was not required to while the order was on appeal.
His conduct did not harm any clients and no client funds were involved or affected.
ENRIQUE MIGUEL RAMIREZ [#75410], 52, of El Centro was suspended for one year, stayed and placed on probation for two years on the condition that he actually be suspended for 30 days, effective July 28, 1996.
Ramirez' misconduct involved his 1993 arrest and charge of misdemeanor battery and false imprisonment of a 76-year-old employee of the U.S. Marshall.
The incident occurred after the employee, a retired peace officer, was assigned as a special deputy to supervise the removal of the contents of Ramirez' office and place them in storage.
Ramirez filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and served it on the marshall, who informed him that the bankruptcy stay order was untimely.
Ramirez successfully sought a temporary stay of the levy from the municipal court. However, three days later, the court lifted the stay and the special deputy returned to Ramirez' office.
Ramirez physically assaulted him, causing bruises and bleeding from his upper body.
About a week later, the federal bankruptcy court ordered Ramirez' office contents returned. Nearly two years later, the bankruptcy appellate panel held that the stay was violated by enforcing the levy. The matter is on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In the criminal assault matter, both parties came to a civil compromise in resolution of the special deputy's civil suit against Ramirez. Ramirez agreed to pay the special deputy $12,500, dismiss the marshall as a defendant from his civil lawsuit regarding the bankruptcy stay and complete an eight-hour anger management course.
In aggravation, Ramirez has a prior record of discipline. He was privately reproved in 1993. A second disciplinary order involving a 90-day stayed suspension was accorded minimal weight in aggravation because the misconduct in that matter occurred generally at the same time as the current case.
In addition, both cases were originally set for trial the same time, but the present matter was abated while the reproval violation matter proceeded to a separate resolution.
In mitigation, Ramirez cooperated with the resolution of the criminal matter, continued in a course of psychotherapy throughout 1995 and completed an anger management course.
In addition, he was emotionally distraught in 1993, due to the seizure of his client files, which he believed were protected by the bankruptcy stay.
WILLIAM SCHOFIELD MULLIN [#54194], 58, of San Diego was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on probation for two years on the condition that he actually be suspended for 90 days and until he makes restitution.
If the period of actual suspension exceeds two years, he will remain suspended until he has provided proof of his rehabilitation and fitness to practice law.
He was ordered to pass the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect July 28, 1996.
In this default decision, Mullin was found culpable of failing to communicate with his client, complete legal services and promptly return the client’s files.
In 1992, Mullin was employed by two sisters to represent them in a lawsuit which they had filed in propria persona against a corporation.
In 1993, Mullin negotiated a settlement of the matter which required the corporation to pay the sisters $6,500, with $1,000 to be paid at the time of the agreement and the balance to paid in monthly installments of $500.
The sisters received the initial payment of $1,000 but no monthly payments. They arranged for Mullin to keep the $1,000 toward his fees but their repeated attempts to contact him to ask for enforcement of the judgment were unsuccessful.
In 1994, they retained another attorney to handle the matter, but she was unsuccessful in arranging for a substitution of counsel and obtaining the sisters’ files.
Considered an aggravating factor in the discipline decision was Mullins’ prior record of misconduct. In 1986, he received a public reproval when he failed to complete legal services, as well as other violations in two client matters.
ANTHONY C. HAYNES [#126733], 37, of Long Beach was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on probation for three years on the condition that he actually be suspended for one year and until he makes restitution.
If the suspension exceeds two years, he must provide proof of his rehabilitation and fitness to practice law. He must pass the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect July 28, 1996.
Haynes’ misconduct involved two client matters, the unauthorized practice of law and failure to comply with conditions of a previous discipline order.
In one matter, Haynes was employed by two clients to represent them in a civil case involving a credit service. Although Haynes knew he was overloaded with cases at the time, he accepted the new clients’ case.
He failed to completely perform legal services, protect his clients’ interests and communicate with his clients.
A default judgment was entered against his clients. However, the credit company later dismissed the case because the legal expenses to pursue it were greater than the amount in controversy.
At the time, Haynes was not eligible to practice law for non-payment of bar dues and non-compliance with MCLE requirements.
He neglected to keep his address current with the bar’s membership department and did not respond to bar investigators’ attempts to look into the complaints against him.
He also failed to meet conditions of a 1993 reproval.
In aggravation, Haynes’ conduct was found to demonstrate a pattern of inattention to his professional responsibilities.
He also has a prior record of discipline. In 1993, he was privately reproved for failure to completely perform legal services and a client trust account violation.
In August 1995, he was disciplined for violation of a condition of his reproval and received a one-year stayed suspension with a 45-day actual suspension and two years probation.
In mitigation, he suffered from depression and resumed the sporadic use of drugs in 1994, which caused him to be distracted from his professional responsibilities.
In late 1994, he sought treatment for cocaine use, but he has not yet accomplished a sustained, continuous period of abstinence. He has not used drugs since the fall of 1995.
NICHOLAS FRANCIS COSCIA [#93248], 43, of San Diego was placed on interim suspension effective June 5, 1996, following his conviction of violating 18 U.S.C. §371, securities fraud conspiracy, a felony. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.
ROBERT BRADLEY JENKINS [#79488], 45, of Louisville, Ky., was suspended June 11, 1996, following his convictions for possession of methamphetamine and a weapon, both felonies. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.
KENDALL KING WATSON [#118392], 39, of Oxnard was placed on interim suspension effective June 19, 1996, following his conviction of violating 18 U.S.C. §7206(1), false statement on a tax return, a crime involving moral turpitude. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.
PHILLIP A. SCHUMAN [#151261], 41, of San Diego was placed on interim suspension effective June 27, 1996, following his conviction of violating Title 18 U.S.C. §1956(a) (2) (B) (ii), transportation of monetary instruments, a felony. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.
RONALD A. KNELL [#71521], 49, of Woodland Hills (July 6, 1996)
LANE J. COOKE [#63978], 49, of Hickory, N.C. (July 6, 1996)
Suspension/Failure to Pass CPRE
HARVEY L. KRAKAUER [#74658], 46, of Beverly Hills (July 9, 1996)
JAMES EDWARD WILKOSKI [#49860], 55, of Anaheim (July 14, 1996)
LAURA JOAN COLBURN [#149567], 32, of San Diego (July 14, 1996)
NEOMA RUTH KNITTER [#92405], 55, of Desert Hot Springs (July 18, 1996)