The State Bar of California’s annual hearing on attorney competency and disciplinary standards took place on December 11th, 2014 in Los Angeles, CA where attorneys and members of the public were able to comment on disciplinary procedures, attorney competency and admissions procedures.
This year it was given a triple dose of
Gene Forte, past candidate for Governor of California in the Recall Race of 2003 on the platform of judicial reform testified concerning prosecutorial misconduct by Merced County DA Larry Morse and defense misconduct by ex-Merced County Public Defender Eric Dumars to CSB Board of Trustee David Paternak and Chief Trial Counsel Jayne Kim.
Forte testified it was of the utmost importance for the protection of the public that when there is prosecutorial misconduct, defense misconduct and judicial misconduct to retaliate against a citizen for exposing public corruption it must be addressed forcefully and immediately.
Audio evidence of DA Morse was played into the record that Forte says is reminiscent of Stalin’s Russia when they committed political dissidents to mental hospitals to silence them.
California attorney Gary Zerman testified that the last time he gave testimony to the panel was twenty years ago and nothing has gotten better, but in fact much worse.
Zerman told the panel that citizens have no protection from bad government actors.
A respected long time judicial advocate, Zerman said he learned his lesson by having his head handed to him by a judge in a case of ethical misconduct by famed Melvin Belli. Zerman said that was when he got his real legal education.
Ms. Laurie Levenson professor of law at Loyola Law School and founding director of Loyola’s Project for the Innocent testified after Forte about the need to curb this type of prosecutorial misconduct with the adoption of an ethical Rule 3.8.
The American Bar Assn., which publishes “Model Rules of Professional Conduct” to serve as ethical standards for attorneys nationwide, enacted Rule 3.8. The rule’s objective is to eliminate confusion.
Levenson said she wanted to put herself out of business by stopping innocent people from being wrongly convicted in the first place.
Zerman said he could verify everything that Forte has stated and that Merced County is where the Rule of Law went to die.
Forte told the panel that he could be their hail Mary pass in showing citizens they can protect them from government prosecutors gone wild to conceal government corruption.