State Bar Court of California

Hearing Department

STIPULATION RE FACTS, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DISPOSITION AND ORDER APPROVING

REPROVAL

Case Number(s): 12-C-10460-RAP

In the Matter of: Joshua Martin Searcy, Bar #273932, A Member of the State Bar of California, (Respondent).

Counsel For The State Bar: William Todd, Deputy Trial Counsel

1149 S Hill Street

Los Angeles, California 90015

213-765-1491

Bar #259194

Counsel for Respondent: In Pro Per Respondent

Joshua Martin Searcy

9606 Tierra Grande St Ste 204

San Diego, California 92126

619-316-4871

Bar # 273932

Submitted to: Settlement Judge State Bar Court Clerkís Office Los Angeles

Filed: June 3, 2013

  <<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 December 3, 2010.

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 11 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 added to membership fee for calendar year following effective date of discipline (public reproval).

<<not>> checked. Case ineligible for costs (private reproval).

<<not>> checked. Costs are to be paid in equal amounts prior to February 1 for the following membership years: .  (Hardship, special circumstances or other good cause per rule 5.132, Rules of Procedure.)  If Respondent fails to pay any installment as described above, or as may be modified by the State Bar Court, the remaining balance is due and payable immediately.

<<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.    The parties understand that:

<<not>> checked.  (a) A private reproval imposed on a respondent as a result of a stipulation approved by the Court prior to initiation of a State Bar Court proceeding is part of the respondentís official State Bar membership records, but is not disclosed in response to public inquiries and is not reported on the State Barís web page. The record of the proceeding in which such a private reproval was imposed is not available to the public except as part of the record of any subsequent proceeding in which it is introduced as evidence of a prior record of discipline under the Rules of Procedure of the State Bar.

<<not>> checked. (b) A private reproval imposed on a respondent after initiation of a State Bar Court proceeding is part of the respondentís official State Bar Membership records, is disclosed in response to public inquiries and is reported as a record of public discipline on the State Barís web page.

checked. (c) A public reproval imposed on a respondent is publicly available as part of the respondentís official State Bar membership records, is disclosed in response to public inquiries and is reported as a record of public discipline on the State Barís web page.

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

<<not>> 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  
<<not>> checked. (e)          If Respondent has two or more incidents of prior discipline, use space provided below or a separate attachment entitled ďPrior DisciplineĒ. .

<<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.

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: Please see "Attachment to Stipulation," at 9.

D. Discipline:

<<not>> checked. (1) Private reproval (check applicable conditions, if any, below):

<<not>> checked. (a) Approved by the Court prior to initiation of the State Bar Court proceedings (no public disclosure).
<<not>> checked. (b)Approved by the Court after initiation of the State Bar Court proceedings (public disclosure).

or

checked. (2)            Public reproval (Check applicable conditions, if any below)

E. Additional Conditions of Reproval:

checked. (1)            Respondent must comply with the conditions attached to the reproval for a period of one year.

checked. (2)            During the condition period attached to the reproval, Respondent must comply with the provisions of the State Bar Act and Rules of Professional Conduct.

checked. (3)            Within ten (10) days of any change, Respondent must report to the Membership Records Office of the State Bar and to the Office of Probation of the State Bar of California ("Office of Probation"), all changes of information, including current office address and telephone number, or other address for State Bar purposes, as prescribed by section 6002.1 of the Business and Professions Code.

checked. (4)            Within thirty (30) days from the effective date of discipline, Respondent must contact the Office of Probation and schedule a meeting with Respondent's assigned probation deputy to discuss these terms and conditions of probation. Upon the direction of the Office of Probation, Respondent must meet with the probation deputy either in-person or by telephone. During the period of probation, Respondent must promptly meet with the probation deputy as directed and upon request.

checked. (5)            Respondent must submit written quarterly reports to the Office of Probation on each January 10, April 10, July 10, and October 10 of the period of probation. Under penalty of perjury, Respondent must state whether Respondent has complied with the State Bar Act, the Rules of Professional Conduct, and all conditions of probation during the preceding calendar quarter. Respondent must also state whether there are any proceedings pending against him or her in the State Bar Court and if so, the case number and current status of that proceeding. If the first report would cover less than 30 days, that report must be submitted on the next quarter date, and cover the extended period.
In addition to all quarterly reports, a final report, containing the same information, is due no earlier than twenty (20) days before the last day of the period of probation and no later than the last day of the condition period.

<<not>> checked. (6) Respondent must be assigned a probation monitor. Respondent must promptly review the terms and conditions of probation with the probation monitor to establish a manner and schedule of compliance. During the period of probation, Respondent must furnish such reports as may be requested, in addition to the quarterly reports required to be submitted to the Office of Probation. Respondent must cooperate fully with the monitor.

checked. (7)            Subject to assertion of applicable privileges, Respondent must answer fully, promptly and truthfully any inquiries of the Office of Probation and any probation monitor assigned under these conditions which are directed to Respondent personally or in writing relating to whether Respondent is complying or has complied with the probation conditions.

checked. (8)            Within one (1) year of the effective date of the discipline herein, Respondent must provide to the Office of Probation satisfactory proof of attendance at a session of the State Bar Ethics School, and passage of the test given at the end of that session.

<<not>> checked. No Ethics School recommended.  Reason: .

checked. (9)            Respondent must comply with all conditions of probation imposed in the underlying criminal matter and must so declare under penalty of perjury in conjunction with any quarterly report to be filed with the Office of Probation.

<<not>> checked. (10) Respondent must provide proof of passage of the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination ("MPRE"), administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, to the Office of Probation within one year of the effective date of the reproval. 

<<not>> checked. No MPRE recommended.  Reason: Neither the protection of the public nor the interests of the Respondent require passing the MPRE in this case. (See In the Matter of .Respondent G (Review Dept. 1992) 2 Cal. State Bar Ct. Rptr. 181, 183.)

checked. (11) The following conditions are attached hereto and incorporated:        

checked. Substance Abuse Conditions.

<<not>> checked. Law Office Management Conditions.

<<not>> checked. Medical Conditions.

<<not>> checked. Financial Conditions.

F. Other Conditions Negotiated by the Parties:

SUBSTANCE ABUSE CONDITIONS

 

Case Number(s): 12-C-10460-RAP

In the Matter of: Joshua Martin Searcy

<<not>> checked. a. Respondent must abstain from use of any alcoholic beverages, and shall not use or possess any narcotics, dangerous or restricted drugs, controlled substances, marijuana, or associated paraphernalia, except with a valid prescription.

checked. b. Respondent must attend at least four meetings per month of:

<<not>> checked. Alcoholics Anonymous

<<not>> checked. Narcotics Anonymous

<<not>> checked. The Other Bar

checked. Other program Respondent shall attend at least four meetings per month of an abstinence-based self-help group of his own choosing, including inter alia, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, LifeRing, S.M.A.R.T., and S.O.S. Other self-help maintenance programs are acceptable if they include: (i) a subculture to support recovery (meetings) and (ii) a process of personal development that does not have financial barriers. (See OíConnor v. California (1994) 855 F.Supp. 303, 307-308 [no Establishment Clause violation where probationer given choice between AA and secular program].)

Before Respondent attends the first self-help group meeting, he shall contact the Office of Probation and obtain approval for the program that he has selected. Thereafter, on a quarterly basis with his quarterly and final  written reports, Respondent shall provide documentary proof of attendance at the meetings of the approved program to the Office of Probation in a form acceptable to the Office of

Probation.

As a separate reporting requirement, Respondent must provide to the Office of Probation satisfactory proof of attendance during each month, on or before the tenth (10th) day of the following month, during the condition or probation period.

<<not>> checked. c. Respondent must select a license medical laboratory approved by the Office of Probation. Respondent must furnish to the laboratory blood and/or urine samples as may be required to show that Respondent has abstained from alcohol and/or drugs. The samples must be furnished to the laboratory in such a manner as may be specified by the laboratory to ensure specimen integrity. Respondent must cause the laboratory to provide to the Office of Probation, at the Respondentís expense, a screening report on or before the tenth day of each month of the condition or probation period, containing an analysis of Respondentís blood and/or urine obtained not more than ten (10) days previously.

<<not>> checked. d. Respondent must maintain with the Office of Probation a current address and a current telephone number at which Respondent can be reached. Respondent must return any call from the Office of Probation concerning testing of Respondentís blood or urine within twelve (12) hours. For good cause, the Office of Probation may require Respondent to deliver Respondentís urine and/or blood sample(s) for additional reports to the laboratory described above no later than six hours after actual notice to Respondent that the Office of Probation requires an additional screening report.

<<not>> checked. e. Upon the request of the Office of Probation, Respondent must provide the Office of Probation with medical waivers and access to all of Respondentís medical records. Revocation of any medical waiver is a violation of this condition. Any medical records obtained by the Office of Probation are confidential and no information concerning them or their contents will be given to anyone except members of the Office of Probation, Office of the Chief Trial Counsel, and the State Bar Court who are directly involved with maintaining, enforcing or adjudicating this condition.

Other:  

ATTACHMENT TO

STIPULATION RE FACTS, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DISPOSITION

 

IN THE MATTER OF: JOSHUA MARTIN SEARCY

 

CASE NUMBER: 12-C-10460-RAP

 

FACTS AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW.

 

Respondent admits that the following facts are true and that the facts and circumstances surrounding the conviction giving rise to this proceeding support the conclusion of law stated herein.

 

Case No. 12-C- 10460 (Conviction Proceeding)

 

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND IN CONVICTION PROCEEDING:

 

1. This is a proceeding pursuant to sections 6101 and 6102 of the Business and Professions Code and rule 9.10 of the California Rules of Court.

2. On June 5, 2012, Respondent pled guilty and was convicted of a misdemeanor violation of Vehicle Code section 23152(b) [driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more]. The imposition of sentence was suspended, and Respondent was placed on five yearsí unsupervised probation. Respondent was ordered to complete seven days in a public service program, with four days credit provided for "time served/completed." Respondent was also ordered to attend a three-month alcohol program, and was ordered to pay various costs and fees. A charge of violating Vehicle Code section 23152(a), which arose from the same conduct, was dismissed incident to Respondentís plea agreement. 3. On January 23, 2013, the Review Department of the State Bar Court issued an order referring the matter to the Hearing Department for a hearing and decision recommending the discipline to be imposed in the event that the Hearing Department finds that the facts and circumstances surrounding the offense(s) for which Respondent was convicted involved moral turpitude or other misconduct warranting discipline.

 

FACTS:

 

4. On December 4, 2011 at just before 2:00 p.m., a Califomia Highway Patrol officer traveling in the southbound lanes of interstate highway 805 in San Diego County observed a Cadillac STS, being driven by Respondent, weaving between the number two and three lanes while traveling at 83 miles per hour. The officer initiated a traffic stop. After speaking with the Respondent, the officer detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from within the vehicle, and Respondentís eyes were observed to be red and glassy. The officer conducted field sobriety tests with Respondent, but Respondent failed to perform satisfactorily in any of them. Respondent refused an on-scene preliminary alcohol breath screening. Respondent was then arrested on suspicion of violating California Vehicle Code section 23152(a) [driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs], and he was transported to the San Diego County Jail where he was booked on suspected violations of Vehicle Code sections 23152(a) and 23152(b) [driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more]. Respondent provided two breath samples at the San Diego County Jail, and they resulted in converted blood alcohol concentrations of 0.16 percent and 0.18 percent, respectively. A subsequent blood test established a blood alcohol level of 0.18 percent.

5. This Respondent has a prior conviction for driving while under the influence of alcohol. On November 30, 2005, Respondent pied guilty to a misdemeanor violation of 625 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/11-501 (a)(2) [driving or physically controlling an automobile while under the influence of alcohol] in Champaign County, Illinois Circuit Court case number 2005DT373. The offense occurred on May 21, 2005į

 

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW:

 

6. The facts and circumstances surrounding Respondentís December 4, 2011 offense involved misconduct warranting discipline.

 

ADDITIONAL FACTS RE MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES.

 

Pre-trial Stipulation: Even though the facts in this matter were easily proven, Respondent is entitled to some mitigation for entering into a full stipulation with the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel prior to trial, thereby saving State Bar Court time and resources. (See In the Matter of Downey (Review Dept. 2009) 5 Cal. State Bar Ct. Rptr. 151,156; In the Matter of Riordan (Review Dept. 2007) 5 Cal. State Bar Ct. Rptr. 41,50.)

 

AUTHORITIES SUPPORTING DISCIPLINE.

 

The Standards for Attomey Sanctions for Professional Misconduct provide a "process of fixing discipline" pursuant to a set of written principles to "better discharge the purposes of attorney discipline as announced by the Supreme Court." (Rules Proc. of State Bar, tit. IV, Stds. for Atty. Sanctions for Prof. Misconduct, Introduction (all further references to standards are to this source).) The primary purposes of disciplinary proceedings and of the sanctions imposed 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." (In re Morse (1995) 11 Cal.4th 184, 205; std. 1.3.)

 

Although not binding, the standards are entitled to "great weight" and should be followed "whenever possible" in determining level of discipline. (In re Silverton (2005) 36 Cai.4th 81, 92, quoting In re Brown (1995) 12 Cal.4th 205,220 and In re Young (1989) 49 Cal.3d 257, 267, fn. 11 .) Adherence to the standards in the great majority of cases serves the valuable purpose of eliminating disparity and assuring consistency, that is, the imposition of similar attorney discipline for instances of similar attorney misconduct. (In re Nancy (1990) 51 Cal.3d 186, 190.) Any discipline recommendation different from that set forth in the applicable standards should clearly explain the reasons for the deviation. (Blair v. State Bar (1989) 49 Cal.3d 762, 776, fn. 5.)

 

Standard 3.4 provides that final conviction of a member of a crime which does not involve moral turpitude inherently or in the facts and circumstances surrounding the crimeís commission but which does involve other misconduct warranting discipline shall result in a sanction as prescribed under part B of the standards appropriate to the nature and extent of the misconduct found to have been committed by the member. Under part B, the sanction applicable to Respondentís misconduct is found in standard 2.10. Standard 2.10 provides that culpability of a member of a violation of any provision of the Business and Professions Code not specified in the standards or of a willful violation of any Rule of Professional Conduct not specified in the standards shall result in reproval or suspension according to the gravity of the offense or the harm, if any, to the victim, with due regard to the purposes of imposing discipline set forth in standard 1.3.

 

Here, Respondent has been convicted of driving a car while his blood alcohol level was greater than 0.08 percent. Since this behavior is both illegal and known to pose great risks to both drivers and others, and since this is Respondentís second alcohol-related driving offense in less than six years, discipline is warranted. In mitigation, Respondent has agreed to enter into this Stipulation. In light of the totality of the facts and circumstances surrounding the misconduct, and the aggravating and mitigating circumstances presented, a public reproval is sufficient to accomplish the purposes of attorney discipline as stated in standard 1.3. Case law also supports the imposition of a public reproval. In re Kelley (1990) 52 Cal.3d 487, the attorney pled no contest to charges of violating Vehicle Code section 23152(b) [driving with a blood alcohol level of greater than 0.08 percent] and admitted to a violation of probation imposed following a prior alcohol and driving-related offense. Due in part to the absence of prior discipline over a brief period, the attomeyís documented community service and her cooperation in the proceedings, the level of discipline ordered was a public reproval.

 

COSTS OF DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS.

 

Respondent acknowledges that the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel has informed him that as of May 10, 2013, the prosecution costs in this matter are $2,343. Respondent further acknowledges that should this stipulation be rejected or should relief from the stipulation be granted, the costs in this matter may increase due to the cost of further proceedings.

 

EXCLUSION FROM MCLE CREDIT

 

Pursuant to rule 3201, Respondent may not receive MCLE credit for completion of State Bar Ethics School. (Rules Proc. of State Bar, rule 3201 .)

SIGNATURE OF THE PARTIES

 

Case Number(s): 12-C-10460-RAP

In the Matter of: Joshua Martin Searcy

 

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: Joshua Martin Searcy

Date: 5-24-13

 

Respondentís Counsel:

Date:

 

Deputy Trial Counsel: William Todd

Date: 5-28-13

 

REPROVAL ORDER

 

Case Number(s): 12-C-10460-RAP

In the Matter of: Joshua Martin Searcy

Finding that the stipulation protects the public and that the interests of Respondent will be served by any conditions attached to the reproval, 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 REPROVAL IMPOSED.

 

<<not>> checked. The stipulated facts and disposition are APPROVED AS MODIFIED as set forth below, and the REPROVAL IMPOSED.

 

<<not>> checked All court dates in the Hearing Department 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 135(b), Rules of Procedure.) Otherwise, the stipulation shall be  effective 15 days after service of this order.

 

Failure to comply with any conditions attached to this reproval may constitute cause for a separate proceeding for willful breach of rule 1-110, Rules of Professional Conduct.

Signed by:

Judge of the State Bar Court: Richard A. Honn

Date: 6-3-13

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

 

[Rules Proc. of State Bar; Rule 5.27(B); Code Civ. Proc., ß 1013a(4)]

 

I am a Case Administrator of the State Bar Court of California. I am over the age of eighteen and not a party to the within proceeding. Pursuant to standard court practice, in the City and County of Los Angeles on June 3, 2013, I deposited a true copy of the following document(s):

                                   

            STIPULATION RE FACTS, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DISPOSITION AND ORDER APPROVING

 

                        in a sealed envelope for collection and mailing on that date as follows:                 

 

checked. by first-class mail, with postage thereon fully prepaid, through the United States Postal Service at Los Angeles, California, addressed as follows:

 

                                                            SEARCY LAW

                                                            9606 TIERRA GRANDE ST STE 204

                                                            SAN DIEGO, CA 92126

 

checked. by interoffice mail through a facility regularly maintained by the State Bar of California addressed as follows:

 

                                    WILLIAM TODD, Enforcement, Los Angeles

                                                           

I hereby certify that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed in Los Angeles, California, on June 3, 2013.

 

Signed by:

Angela Carpenter

Case Administrator

State Bar Court