In a recent Decision by California’s State Bar Court, which oversees discipline for all California licensed attorneys, an attorney was punished following her arrest for resisting an officer and for committing a battery on that officer.
The attorney, a 52-year-old woman, was acting in an abusive manner in a number of ways, but the culminating act occurred after she was arrested. It was at this point she turned and spit in the officer’s face and her saliva entered the officer’s eye. A preliminary alcohol screening breath test showed the lawyer’s blood alcohol contest was .147.
The incident occurred at a hotel in San Jose. As a result of her action, the attorney received a “public reproval”. This means she has not been suspended and is still able to practice law. However, the fact of her punishment is now on the State Bar of California’s web site.
The most serious discipline the State Bar Court, in conjunction with the California Supreme Court, can mete out is disbarment — a permanent ban on practicing law in the courts of California. The least serious is a private reproval, which is a scolding that is less serious than a public reproval. Of course, in certain cases, the State Bar Court will find that the accused lawyer did nothing wrong.
Interestingly, the incident in San Jose started out with the lawyer just being told to leave the premises. But things escalated from there.