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Conference Focuses on Lawyer's 'Turpitude'

Robert Wyatt denies 'moral turpitude' in suspension case before State Bar; the Rossmoor attorney in April pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in a December 2010 fatal accident.

A conference is scheduled for Oct. 1 in the case seeking to halt the suspension from the practice of law by Robert Wyatt of Rossmoor, who pleaded no contest in April to vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, a felony.

The case of Wyatt, 72, is before Lucy Armendariz, a hearing judge of the State Bar Court in San Francisco. Wyatt is represented by Walnut Creek lawyer Jerome Fishkin.

In April, Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Clare Maier sentenced Wyatt to three years of felony formal probation, including 90 days of home detention. Wyatt was ordered to pay victim restitution to Phillips' family. The judge also ordered him to abstain from alcohol during the term of the probation, and revoked his driver's license for a year.

Wyatt was the driver of a Bentley that struck and killed Edward Phillips, 85, of Rossmoor on Dec. 10, 2010, in Rossmoor. Later in the evening, Wyatt registered a blood alcohol level of 0.18, more than twice the legal limit, police reported.

The State Bar Court on July 17 ordered that Wyatt be suspended from the practice of law effective Aug. 13, pending the outcome of the State Bar proceeding. The case was referred to the hearing department for a decision on whether the circumstances added up to "moral turpitude" warranting the discipline of the attorney. That order is attached to this article as a PDF.

In an answer to the notice of hearing, Wyatt said that neither the conviction nor the underlying circumstances involve "moral turpitude," the standard for suspending his law license. "This was a tragic accident that has no relationship to the practice of law," wrote Fishkin, the lawyer for Wyatt, in the July 30 document.

David Holden September 21, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Lawyers have morals? Ha. Ha. Ha.

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