A state bar court judge has disbarred Walnut Creek attorney Robert Wyatt, age 72, in a ruling that scrutinized Wyatt's conviction last year for vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Judge Lucy Armendariz of the State Bar Court of California, in a Feb. 13 decision, found the facts surrounding Wyatt's conviction in the Rossmoor traffic death of 85-year-old Edward Phillips "involved moral turpitude warranting discipline, and recommends that the respondent be disbarred." The accident occurred on Dec. 10, 2010.
Wyatt, himself a Rossmoor resident, pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated after a preliminary hearing in Contra Costa County Superior Court last year. and was ordered to pay victim restitution to Phillips' family, abstain from alcohol and had his driver's license revoked.
Armendariz was "incredulous" that Wyatt contended that "his high blood alcohol level was caused by his medications and the victim who was 85 years old jumped out in front of his car."
Phillips was on his way to a Rossmoor bus stop, presumably for a trip to a Chinese restaurant in downtown Walnut Creek, as was his habit.
Wyatt's consumption of vodka and beer that night "may have impaired his moral judgment and physical alertness," Armendariz wrote. "Nevertheless, he was not candid. Respondent attempted to justify his serious mistake and misrepresented to the police at the time of the accident that he only had one beer and that the victim streaked across in front of his car." Phillips walked with a cane, but had to be scolded by family members at times to use the cane.
The court noted that Wyatt had practiced law without discipline for 34 years at the time of the accident. He was an environmental lawyer and partner at Allen Matkins in San Francisco.