Monday, October 28, 2002
10 Area Attorneys Draw Discipline for Mishandling Client, Financial Matters
By ALLISON LOMAS, Staff Writer
Ten local attorneys who admitted improperly handling their clients funds, failing to respond to client inquiries, writing bad checks or, in one case, grand theft have been disciplined recently, according to the State Bar of California.
Kevin Michael Key, a Los Angeles attorney admitted to the bar in Jan. 1993, was summarily disbarred by the Supreme Court of California in an order filed Sept. 20 after he pled guilty to grand theft.
This was not the first time that Key had been disciplined by the State Bar. He received an administrative suspension in September. 2001 for failure to pay his bar fees and neglecting to satisfy the minimum continuing legal education requirements.
One month after the administrative suspension was ordered, Key was ordered inactive for failing to respond to charges filed by the office of the chief trial counsel in July 2001.
In early April 2002 the state bar court issued a private reproval on the July 2001 charges that Key had not cooperated with a state bar investigation concerning an earlier court order sanctioning him and his client for misuse of the discovery process.
In May 2000 a court had ordered Key and his client to pay $1546. Key did not comply with the order, or appeal it.
Effective April 27 of this year, only two weeks after the private reproval was ordered, Key was placed on interim suspension pending the resolution of criminal charges.
Key was charged with battery, making a terrorist threat, assault with a deadly weapon, dissuading a witness, and grand theft, Deputy Trial Counsel Dane C. Dauphine said.
Initially Key pled not guilty to all five counts, but later withdrew the plea and entered a no contest plea to the charge of grand theft on Nov. 19 of last year, Dauphine said. Dauphine could not confirm whether the other charges were dismissed or are still pending.
Key was sentenced to three years probation, 180 days in the county jail with credit for 145 days, and ordered to pay a restitution fine for stealing the hard-drive of his daughter’s computer and taking a personal check in March 2001, Dauphine said.
Key was summarily disbarred because he was convicted of a felony that by law involves moral turpitude, Dauphine explained. His disbarment will become effective on Oct. 20.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company