Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Former Top Bar Prosecutor Faces Appearance on Weapon Charge
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Former State Bar Chief Trial Counsel Michael Nisperos faces a court appearance Thursday in Burbank on a misdemeanor charge of possession of a dangerous weapon, specifically an expandable baton.
Nisperos, who left the State Bar’s top prosecutor position last Jan. 1 after deciding not to seek a second four-year term, attributed his May 11 arrest while attempting to board a flight to Oakland at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank to a “stupid” mistake on his part.
The baton, he explained, “wasn’t a functional weapon,” but rather a relic from his days as a martial arts instructor. He and some other instructors had attempted to interest police agencies in using the weapon about 25 years ago, but were unsuccessful, he said.
Prior to May 11, he explained, he found the weapon while unloading groceries from a car he had given his son. He removed the baton, placed it in a bag he carries around with him, and forgot about it until it was found as a result of weapons screening at the airport, he told the MetNews.
He told the police the weapon wasn’t usable and suggested that they just dispose of it, he said, but they insisted on arresting him and sending the case to the District Attorney’s Office. District attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said that prosecutors reviewed the case, but decided not to file felony charges, referring the matter to the Burbank City Attorney’s Office, which filed the misdemeanor charge.
Nisperos, who is in the process of seeking a buyer for his South Pasadena home in order to move back to the Bay Area fulltime, said he would not be in court but would have his lawyer make the appearance on his behalf. He said he was hopeful of negotiating a disposition of the charge rather than having it go to trial.
“I should have been more careful,” he said. “But I’m not a criminal.”
Nisperos was manager of Oakland’s Citizens’ Police Review Board prior to taking the State Bar post.
He spent most of his entire career as a public lawyer, working first for the Alameda District Attorney’s Office and later as a trial lawyer for the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Nisperos graduated from Boalt Hall School of Law in 1978. A Marine during the Vietnam era, he was with the Judge Advocate General Corps in the U.S. Air Force from 1982 to 1986.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company