Prosecutors’ union pushes measure hobbling California lawyer discipline

by Walter Olson on November 19, 2008

“In the wake of a disciplinary hearing against a top local prosecutor, the union that represents Santa Clara County prosecutors and public defenders is asking the California District Attorneys Association to sponsor a bill that would essentially curb the power of the state bar to punish all lawyers. …The proposal follows a recommendation by the state bar that Deputy District Attorney Ben Field be suspended from practicing law for three years — a punishment of unprecedented severity against a Santa Clara County prosecutor. Field is charged with committing misconduct in four criminal cases dating back to 1995, including misleading judges, defying court orders and concealing critical evidence from defense lawyers in pursuit of convictions.” The union objects (among other things) to letting disciplinary authorities look that far into the past for bad behavior. (Tracey Kaplan, “Prosecutors seek to curb powers of disciplinary board”, San Jose Mercury News, Nov. 7) (via Legal Ethics Forum).

{ 2 comments }

1 Richard Nieporent 11.19.08 at 10:26 pm

Maybe they can get Mike Nifong to testify in favor of the bill.

2 Anonymous 11.21.08 at 2:05 pm

I have to agree, up to a point. Most state bar’s are incapable (or unwilling) to effectively monitor and discipline attorneys licensed to practice in that state. Steal money from a client? Slap on the wrist for you. Lie to the judge and opposing counsel? Slap on the wrist for you.

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