Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Former State Bar Board of Governors Candidate Says He Will Resign From State Bar, Not Face Trial
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A suspended Los Angeles attorney who once ran for the State Bar Board of Governors on a pledge to reform the disciplinary system said he will resign from the bar this week rather than face a public trial that he said could force him to betray a client.
Bradford Henschel has worked as a paralegal since he was suspended from practice in 2003, following a stipulation that he had practiced law during an earlier suspension, violated a court order, and failed to perform legal services competently, return client files, or take steps to avoid prejudice to a client.
The current suspension is for five years, stayed, with five years probation and actual suspension for 18 months and until he proves rehabilitation.
Recommendations by his probation monitor and a hearing judge that he be reinstated were rejected by the Review Department. That panel found that he had improperly described himself, in correspondence and court papers, as an “inactive” or “former” bar member, or as not being a member, rather than as suspended, while serving a six-month suspension in 1997 and 1998.
Henschel told the METNEWS that the State Bar is now falsely accusing of him as practicing law while working as a “paralegal/courier” for attorney Frank Williams Jr.
But Henschel said he will not defend himself, and will offer to give up his license, in order to “stop the State Bar’s crimes against me.” The alternative, he said, would be to reveal confidential information concerning Lamont DeVault, a convicted murderer now represented by Williams in a habeas corpus proceeding.
In a “draft” notice of disciplinary charges, a copy of which was provided by Henschel, the State Bar is accusing both Henschel and Williams of misconduct in connection with Williams’ representation of DeVault, who claims that he was out of the state when the killing of which he was convicted occurred and that he was framed by an informant.
The disciplinary notice alleges that when Henschel discussed the case with the attorney who handled DeVault’s direct appeal, he did not acknowledge that he was under suspension, described himself as a “member of the State Bar,” and rendered a legal opinion regarding counsel’s alleged duty to turn over the attorney’s files to Henschel.
Bar counsel has also charged that Henschel’s misleading descriptions of his status, as determined in the reinstatement proceeding, constitute moral turpitude. Williams is accused of aiding Henschel in the unauthorized practice of law and of failing to cooperate in the State Bar’s investigation.
Henschel, who unsuccessfully ran twice for Congress in the early 1980s, was admitted to the State Bar in 1989. He obtained his law degree from the University of West Los Angeles.
A practitioner of criminal defense, bankruptcy, tax and general civil law, he ran for the Board of Governors in 1997 but dropped out of the race after the ballots were printed.
Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company