Monday, December 6, 2010
Hollister Lawyer Disbarred for Sex With Inmate Clients
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The California Supreme Court has disbarred Hollister lawyer Patrick Earl Marshall, who had sexual relations with two incarcerated clients when he was a contract public defender.
The State Bar of California said yesterday that Marshall’s disbarment is effective Jan. 1.
The group’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel in May 2004 charged Marshall, 63, with engaging in sexual misconduct with two female clients who were incarcerated in San Benito County.
Marshall argued that the sex was consensual, and was initially admitted to the State Bar’s Alternative Discipline Program over the objections of the Chief Trial Counsel’s Office. The program allows for substance abuse or mental health treatment before a case is decided, and Marshall entered into an agreement to assist in his recovery process from depression disorder, sexual disorder, narcissistic personality disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.
The State Bar Court Hearing Department imposed a one-year stayed suspension and two years’ probation when Marshall completed the program in 2007, but State Bar prosecutors appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. The high court in 2009 ordered the State Bar Court to conduct further hearings.
Following those hearings, State Bar Court Judge Lucy Armendariz agreed that a stayed suspension was too lenient and recommended disbarment.
“Despite respondent’s successful completion of the ADP and LAP [Lawyer Assistance Program] and years of therapy,” she wrote, Marshall “has not fully grasped the egregiousness of his offenses and the extreme harm he had caused the administration of justice and integrity of the legal profession.”
The judge noted that Marshall went so far as to argue that a mitigating factor should be that his misconduct accounted for no more than “an hour’s total duration.”
“Violation of one’s professional and ethical duties is not measured by the length of time,” Armendariz said. “Having improper sexual relations with a client breaches the basic notions of trust and integrity and endangers public confidence in the legal profession, irrespective of its duration…His persistent claims that the sexual relations were consensual and that [one woman] never told him to stop are indeed troubling and adversely reflect on his fitness to practice law.”
The judge referred to an Iowa Supreme Court decision which stated that “the professional relationship renders it impossible for the vulnerable layperson to be considered ‘consenting.’ ”
Marshall was admitted to the State Bar in 1975 and had no prior record of discipline, according to the State Bar’s website.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company