In San Francisco a former Santa Clara County prosecutor Ben Field lost his licence to practice for four years when it turned out he had failed to give proper disclosure in a series of criminal cases. Last week he took his fight to clear his disciplinary record to a State Bar of California appellate panel. Unfortunate move, it turns out as the judges sent a strong signal that his four-year suspension for misconduct may not be harsh enough.
During an hour long hearing, Field’s lawyer, Allen Ruby, encountered generally hostile questioning from the three-judge appellate review panel. At least two of the judges, Presiding Judge Joann Remke and Judge Judith Epstein, grilled State Bar prosecutor Donald Steedman on why his office didn’t seek to permanently strip Field of his law license, given the argument at trial that he’d repeatedly violated ethical rules and the constitutional rights of defendants in criminal cases.
Its a shame that our regulators lack the cojones to adopt similar measures here. How many times can the prosecution simply fail to hand over glaringly obvious relevant material before one gets knocked down?