The gravamen of my defense before the California State Bar Court is that conclusory notice of charges is insufficient to meet the pleading requirements of the State Bar Court's Rules of Procedure. (Rules Proc., rule 101(b)(2) & (3).)
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 Supreme Court warned repeatedly that the State Bar provides insufficient notice when it fails to connect law and wrongful conduct. Yet, the theory has not been used by any previous respondent. The failure to apply the law after it has been set out points to the extremely low level of practice in State Bar Court defense. These installments discuss the causes.
- 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.
Labels: California State Bar, jurisprudence, legal procedure, pleading, State Bar defense establishment