State Bar Court of California

Hearing Department

STIPULATION RE FACTS, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

DISPOSITION AND ORDER APPROVING DISBARMENT; ORDER OF INVOLUNTARY INACTIVE ENROLLMENT

Case Number(s): 10-N-06977-RAP

In the Matter of: Walter J. Roberts, IV, Bar # 225339, A Member of the State Bar of California, (Respondent).

Counsel For The State Bar: Margaret P. Warren, 1149 S. Hill Street

Los Angeles, CA 90015-2299

(213) 765-1342

Bar #108774

Counsel for Respondent:  #In Pro Per Respondent

Walter J. Roberts, IV

8608 Utica Ave., Suite 220

Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

(909) 204-5718

Bar # 225339

Submitted to: Settlement Judge

Filed: April 20, 2011

  <<not>> checked. PREVIOUS STIPULATION REJECTED

Note:  All information required by this form and any additional information which cannot be provided in the space provided, must be set forth in an attachment to this stipulation under specific headings, e.g., "Facts," "Dismissals," "Conclusions of Law," "Supporting Authority," etc.

A. Parties' Acknowledgments:

1.    Respondent is a member of the State Bar of California, admitted.

2.    The parties agree to be bound by the factual stipulations contained herein even if conclusions of law or disposition are rejected or changed by the Supreme Court.

3.    All investigations or proceedings listed by case number in the caption of this stipulation are entirely resolved by this stipulation and are deemed consolidated. Dismissed charge(s)/count(s) are listed under "Dismissals."  The stipulation consists of 8 pages, not including the order.

4.    A statement of acts or omissions acknowledged by Respondent as cause or causes for discipline is included under "Facts."

5.    Conclusions of law, drawn from and specifically referring to the facts are also included under "Conclusions of Law".

6.    The parties must include supporting authority for the recommended level of discipline under the heading "Supporting Authority."

7.    No more than 30 days prior to the filing of this stipulation, Respondent has been advised in writing of any pending investigation/proceeding not resolved by this stipulation, except for criminal investigations.

8.    Payment of Disciplinary Costs-Respondent acknowledges the provisions of Bus. & Prof. Code ßß6086.10 & 6140.7. (Check one option only):

checked. Costs are awarded to the State Bar.

<<not>> checked. Costs are waived in part as set forth in a separate attachment entitled "Partial Waiver of Costs".

<<not>> checked. Costs are entirely waived.

9.    ORDER OF INACTIVE ENROLLMENT:
The parties are aware that if this stipulation is approved, the judge will issue an order of inactive enrollment under Business and Professions Code section 6007, subdivision (c)(4), and Rules of Procedure of the State Bar, rule 5.111(D)(1).

B. Aggravating Circumstances [for definition, see Standards for Attorney Sanctions for Professional Misconduct, standard 1.2(b)]. Facts supporting aggravating circumstances are required.

checked. (1)            Prior record of discipline [see standard 1.2(f)].

<<not>> checked. (a)          State Bar Court case # of prior case
<<not>> checked. (b)          Date prior discipline effective
<<not>> checked. (c)           Rules of Professional Conduct/ State Bar Act violations:
<<not>> checked. (d)          Degree of prior discipline
checked. (e)              If Respondent has two or more incidents of prior discipline, use space provided below. Please see p. 7, below

<<not>> checked. (2) Dishonesty:  Respondent's misconduct was surrounded by or followed by bad faith, dishonesty, concealment, overreaching or other violations of the State Bar Act or Rules of Professional Conduct.

<<not>> checked. (3) Trust Violation:  Trust funds or property were involved and Respondent refused or was unable to account to the client or person who was the object of the misconduct for improper conduct toward said funds or property.

<<not>> checked. (4) Harm:  Respondent's misconduct harmed significantly a client, the public or the administration of justice.

<<not>> checked. (5) Indifference:  Respondent demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for the consequences of his or her misconduct.

<<not>> checked. (6) Lack of Cooperation:  Respondent displayed a lack of candor and cooperation to victims of his/her misconduct or to the State Bar during disciplinary investigation or proceedings.

<<not>> checked. (7) Multiple/Pattern of Misconduct:  Respondent's current misconduct evidences multiple acts of wrongdoing or demonstrates a pattern of misconduct.

<<not>> checked. (8) No aggravating circumstances are involved.
Additional aggravating circumstances:

C. Mitigating Circumstances [see standard 1.2(e)]. Facts supporting mitigating circumstances are required.

<<not>> checked. (1) No Prior Discipline:  Respondent has no prior record of discipline over many years of practice coupled with present misconduct which is not deemed serious.

<<not>> checked. (2) No Harm:  Respondent did not harm the client or person who was the object of the misconduct.

<<not>> checked. (3) Candor/Cooperation:  Respondent displayed spontaneous candor and cooperation with the victims of his/her misconduct and to the State Bar during disciplinary investigation and proceedings.

<<not>> checked. (4) Remorse:  Respondent promptly took objective steps spontaneously demonstrating remorse and recognition of the wrongdoing, which steps were designed to timely atone for any consequences of his/her misconduct.

<<not>> checked. (5) Restitution:  Respondent paid $   on in restitution to without the threat or force of disciplinary, civil or criminal proceedings.

<<not>> checked. (6) Delay:  These disciplinary proceedings were excessively delayed.  The delay is not attributable to Respondent and the delay prejudiced him/her.

<<not>> checked. (7) Good Faith:  Respondent acted in good faith.

<<not>> checked. (8) Emotional/Physical Difficulties:  At the time of the stipulated act or acts of professional misconduct Respondent suffered extreme emotional difficulties or physical disabilities which expert testimony would establish was directly responsible for the misconduct.  The difficulties or disabilities were not the product of any illegal conduct by the member, such as illegal drug or substance abuse, and Respondent no longer suffers from such difficulties or disabilities.

<<not>> checked. (9) Severe Financial Stress:  At the time of the misconduct, Respondent suffered from severe financial stress which resulted from circumstances not reasonably foreseeable or which were beyond his/her control and which were directly responsible for the misconduct.

<<not>> checked. (10)           Family Problems:  At the time of the misconduct, Respondent suffered extreme difficulties in his/her personal life which were other than emotional or physical in nature.

<<not>> checked. (11)           Good Character:  Respondent's good character is attested to by a wide range of references in the legal and general communities who are aware of the full extent of his/her misconduct.

<<not>> checked. (12)           Rehabilitation:  Considerable time has passed since the acts of professional misconduct occurred followed by convincing proof of subsequent rehabilitation.

<<not>> checked. (13)           No mitigating circumstances are involved.

Additional mitigating circumstances:

D. Discipline: Disbarment.

E. Additional Requirements:

<<not>> checked. (1) Rule 9.20, California Rules of Court:  Respondent must comply with the requirements of rule 9.20, California Rules of Court, and perform the acts specified in subdivisions (a) and (c) of that rule within 30 and 40 calendar days, respectively, after the effective date of the Supreme Court's Order in this matter.

<<not>> checked. (2) Restitution:  Respondent must make restitution to  in the amount of $  plus 10 percent interest per year from  .  If the Client Security Fund has reimbursed for all or any portion of the principal amount, respondent must pay restitution to CSF of the amount paid plus applicable interest and costs in accordance with Business and Professions Code section 6140.5.  Respondent must pay the above restitution and furnish satisfactory proof of payment to the State Bar's Office of Probation in Los Angeles no later than days from the effective date of the Supreme Court order in this case..

<<not>> checked. (3) Other:

 

ATTACHMENT TO

STIPULATION RE FACTS, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DISPOSITION

 

IN THE MATTER OF: Walter J. Roberts, IV, No. 225339

CASE NUMBER(S): 10-N-06977

 

FACTS AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

 

Respondent admits that the following facts are true and that he is culpable of violations of the specified statutes and/or Rules of Professional Conduct:

 

Facts:

 

1. By order of the California Supreme Court filed on April 2, 2010 ("Order"), Respondent was ordered to comply with Rule 9.20 California Rules of Court, by performing the acts specified in subdivisions (a) and (c) within thirty (30) and forty (40) days, respectively, after the effective date of the 9.20 Order.

 

2. The Order became effective on May 2, 2010, thirty (30) days after the Order was filed. Thus, Respondent was ordered to comply with subdivision (a) of rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court no later than June 1, 2010, and was ordered to comply with subdivision (c) of Rule 9.20 no later than June 11, 2010.

 

3. On June 23, 2010, Respondent submitted an untimely rule 9.20 affidavit of compliance, along with his declaration under penalty of perjury dated June 21, 2010 ("Declaration") attached. In the Declaration, Respondent stated that as of May 2, 2010, he had a total of eight (8) pending cases; that he had personally met with six of the eight clients in those pending cases; that he had orally informed those six clients of his suspension, the status of their respective cases, and their need to obtain new counsel; and that he returned the files to each of the six clients. Respondent did not state, however, on what date or dates he met with the six clients, or on what date(s) he returned their files.

4. In the Declaration, Respondent further stated that he was in the process of locating two of the eight clients, as they had moved and had new addresses and telephone numbers, and that he would continue searching for these two individuals.

5. In the Declaration, Respondent further stated that he had not yet notified any of his clients by mail of his suspension, and requested additional time to complete the requirement of rule 9.20. Respondent stated that he would be sending the requisite letters to the clients, as required by rule 9.20, later that week (and as soon as he could locate the two clients who had moved). Respondent further stated that he intended to file a supplemental declaration by the end of that week showing the required letters had been sent out, and providing an update on his efforts to locate the two clients who had moved.

6. On July 7, 2010, the Office of Probation sent a letter to Respondent, notifying him that his affidavit of compliance was untimely and inadequate, and had been rejected by the Office of Probation for a number of reasons (as set forth in the letter). The Office of Probationís July 7, 2010 letter was properly addressed to Respondent at his membership records address; however, it was returned by the U.S. Postal Service on July 20, 201, marked "Return to Sender / Attempted--Not Known / Unable to Forward."

7. Respondent did not notify the State Barís Membership Records Office, or the Office of Probation, of his change of address until the beginning of October 2010.

8. To date, Respondent has not submitted to the Office of Probation or anyone else at the State Bar or State Bar Court the supplemental declaration he had said in his June 21, 2010 Declaration that he would file by the end of June 2010. To date, Respondent has not submitted to the Office of Probation or anyone else at the State Bar or State Bar Court any evidence showing that he has sent certified or registered mail to any of his eight clients, notifying them in writing of his suspension as required by rule 9.20.

Legal Conclusions:

9. By not complying with the requirements of subpart (b) of rule 9.20 requiring him to give written notice of his suspension, by registered or certified mail, to all clients he was representing in pending matters at the time the Supreme Courtís Order of discipline became effective, and by not filing a declaration of compliance with Rule 9.20 in conformity with the requirements of subpart (c) of rule 9.20, Respondent failed to comply with the provisions of the Order requiring compliance with rule 9.20, California Rules of Court, in willful violation of rule 9.20, California

Rules of Court.

PENDING PROCEEDINGS.

The disclosure date referred to, on page 2, paragraph A(7), was April 8,2011.

AUTHORITIES SUPPORTING DISCIPLINE.

Standard 1.3 of the Standards for Attorney Sanctions for Professional Misconduct provides:

The primary purposes of disciplinary proceedings conducted by the State Bar of California and of sanctions imposed upon a finding or acknowledgment of a memberís professional misconduct are the protection of the public, the courts and the legal profession; the maintenance of high professional standards by attorneys and the preservation of public confidence in the legal profession. Rehabilitation of a member is a permissible object of a sanction imposed upon the member but only if the imposition of rehabilitative sanctions is consistent with the above-stated primary purposes of sanctions for professional misconduct.

Standard 1.7 (b) provides:

If a member is found culpable of professional misconduct in any proceeding in which discipline may be imposed and the member has a record of two prior impositions of discipline as defined by Standard 1.2 (f), the degree of discipline in the current proceeding shall be disbarment unless the most compelling mitigating circumstances clearly predominate.

Wilful violation of rule 9.20 [formerly rule 955] of the California Rules of Court deserves strong disciplinary measures because of the ruleís critical prophylactic function. Disbarment is the usual discipline ordered by the Supreme Court for such violations. See, e.g., In the Matter of Snyder (Review Dept. 1993) 2 Cal. State Bar Ct. Rptr. 593; and see In the Matter of Grueneich (Review Dept. 1993) 2 Cal. State Bar Ct. Rptr. 439

Attorneys who engage in an extended practice of inattention to official actions should not be allowed to create the risk that it will extend to clients resulting in inevitable and grievous harm to them. In the Matter of Pierce (Review Dept. 1993) 2 Cal. State Bar Ct. Rptr. 382.

 

AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES.

Prior Discipline:

 

1. Case Nos. 08-0-10110 et al.

Effective date of discipline: May 2, 2010.

 

Rules of Professional Conduct/State Bar Act violations: Bus. & Prof. Code sections 6068(a)/6125-6126; 6068(k); 6103; 6106.

Degree of discipline: 2 year suspension, stayed; 3 year probation with conditions; 1 year actual suspension.

2. Case No. 06-0-10128

Effective date of discipline: March 16, 2007.

Rules of Professional Conduct/State Bar Act violations: rule 3-110(A), RPC; Bus. & Prof. Code sections 6068(k); 6068(m).

Degree of discipline: 1 year suspension, stayed; 2 year probation with conditions; 30-day actual suspension.

3. Case No. 04-0-11044

Effective date of discipline: July 31, 2005.

Rules of Professional Conduct/State Bar Act violations: rule 3-110(A), RPC; Bus. & Prof. Code section 6O9O.5

Degree of discipline: 30 day suspension, stayed; 2 year probation with conditions; no actual suspension.

 

SIGNATURE OF THE PARTIES

 

Case Number(s): 10-N-06977-RAP

 

In the Matter of: Walter J. Roberts, IV

 

By their signatures below, the parties and their counsel, as applicable, signify their agreement with each of the recitation and each of the terms and conditions of this Stipulation Re Facts, Conclusions of Law and Disposition.

 

Signed by:

 

Respondent: Walter J. Roberts, IV

Date: April 14, 2011

 

Respondentís Counsel:

Date:

 

Deputy Trial Counsel: Margaret P. Warren

Date: April 14, 2011

 

DISBARMENT ORDER

 

Case Number(s): 10-N-06977-RAP

In the Matter of: Walter J. Roberts, IV

Finding the stipulation to be fair to the parties and that it adequately protects the public, IT IS ORDERED that the requested dismissal of counts/charges, if any is GRANTED without prejudice, and:

 

checked. The stipulated facts and disposition are APPROVED and the DISCIPLINE RECOMMENDED to the Supreme Court.

<<not>>checked. The stipulated facts and disposition are APPROVED AS MODIFIED as set forth below, and the DISCIPLINE IS RECOMMENDED to the Supreme Court.

<<not>>checked. All Hearing dates are vacated.

The parties are bound by the stipulation as approved unless: 1) a motion to withdraw or modify the stipulation, filed within 15 days after service of this order, is granted; or 2) this court modifies or further modifies the approved stipulation. (See rule 5.58 (E) & (F), Rules of Procedure.) The effective date of this disposition is the effective date of the Supreme Court order herein, normally 30 days after the file date. (See rule 9.18(a), California Rules of Court.)

Respondent Walter J. Roberts, IV is ordered transferred to involuntary inactive status pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 6007, subdivision (c)(4). Respondentís inactive enrollment will be effective three (3) calendar days after this order is served by mail and will terminate upon the effective date of the Supreme Courtís order imposing discipline herein, or as provided for by rule 5.111(D)(2) or the Rules of Procedure of the State Bar of California, or as otherwise ordered by the Supreme Court pursuant to its plenary jurisdiction.

 

Signed by:

Donald F. Miles

Judge of the State Bar Court

Date: April 19, 2011