My case's procedural form can conceal the core issue, right to notice, as a matter bearing on high policy, not only individual cases. If my experience is typical—and why should it not be, absent legal obstacles to deter the State Bar Court—then the modus operandi of the State Bar is to file the most general allegations, with no showing of how particular alleged infractions violate the rule or statute in question. The Office of the Chief Trial Counsel then launches a fishing expedition, where the respondent has protection inferior to that afforded in ordinary civil or criminal matters. This conduct defeats the purpose of initial pleadings and formal charges.
My case rests on two foundational premises, establishing pleading requirements in the California State Bar Court:
- The California Supreme Court reprimanded the State Bar Court in a line of cases. (See Lipson v. State Bar (1991) 53 Cal.3d 1010, 1016; Sugarman v. State Bar of California (1990) 51 Cal.3d 609; Baker v. State Bar (1989) 49 Cal.3d 804 ; Maltaman v. State Bar (1987) 43 Cal.3d 924, 931; and Guzzetta v. State Bar (1987) 43 Cal.3d 962, 968.). The Supreme Court offers commentary comical in its seeming futility. In each opinion, the Supreme Court inserts a frustrated remonstrance: "Once again we are constrained to call to the attention of the State Bar Court the importance of identifying with specificity both the rule or statutory provision that underlies each charge and the manner in which the conduct allegedly violated that rule or statutory provision. While petitioner here does not complain of any due process violation in lack of notice, this specificity is also essential to meaningful review of the recommendation of the State Bar Court."
- The general rules of pleading that underlie the State Bar's Rules of Procedure are committed on principle to factual pleading.