Clients looking for an attorney should start first at the state bar website. You can search here by clicking the link on “Attorney Search” in the upper right hand corner of the page. The information provided will give you their contact information, how long they have been practicing, and perhaps where they went to school.
Just because an attorney has been disciplined doesn’t mean they cannot practice law. The State Bar of California is actually very lenient to those who have already been admitted to the bar. They are normally given multiple chances to keep their license.
However, on occasion, a person may not make the cut.
A good example is Sonoma County District Attorney Brooke Halsey Jr., who was suspended by the State Bar of California for prosecutorial misconduct.
“January 12, 2007
BROOKE POWELL HALSEY JR.
While prosecuting a prominent physician in Sonoma for murder, Halsey, who was a deputy district attorney, dismissed the charges after evidence came to light that a key witness had been extensively coached. The State Bar Court found that he committed six acts of misconduct.
He violated California law by withholding, prior to trial, impeaching evidence and evidence favorable to the defense, committing acts of moral turpitude, and he improperly suppressed evidence, made multiple misrepresentations to the court and sought to mislead a judge.
In another matter, he intervened in the case of a casual acquaintance who was charged with violating the Fish and Game Code while hunting for wild pigs. Although it was not his case, Halsey evaluated the matter on his own and had it dismissed without informing anyone in his office. The court found that he had a conflict in the case because of a prior relationship with the defendant.
In mitigation, Halsey presented 17 character witnesses who testified to his integrity. He has no prior discipline record and he has performed extensive community service.”
See the full decision here.