11 Cal.2d 699, 15929, In re Lacey

Docket Nº:15929
Citation:11 Cal.2d 699, 81 P.2d 935
Party Name:In re Lacey
Attorney:[7] Edwin V. McKenzie, Leo R. Friedman, Walter E. Hettman, Edward P. Murphy and Joseph Scott for Petitioner. [8] Philbrick McCoy and John A. Sutro for Respondent.
Case Date:July 29, 1938
Court:Supreme Court of California

Page 699

11 Cal.2d 699

81 P.2d 935

In the Matter of the Petition of JOSEPH P. LACEY for Readmission to The State Bar of California.

S. F. No. 15929.

Supreme Court of California

July 29, 1938

In Bank.


Edwin V. McKenzie, Leo R. Friedman, Walter E. Hettman, Edward P. Murphy and Joseph Scott for Petitioner. Philbrick McCoy and John A. Sutro for Respondent



Application of Joseph P. Lacey for readmission to practice law in this state after his disbarment by this court on the ground of his conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude. The application for reinstatement is based upon the ground and claim that the applicant since his disbarment has rehabilitated himself and now possesses the necessary moral qualifications and mental attainments to entitle him to be restored as a member of the Bar and to practice as an attorney in all the courts of this state.

Page 700

The application was made in the first instance to the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California. Upon presentation of said application the Board of Governors of the State Bar appointed one of its members, Richard Belcher, Esq., as a committee to hold a hearing on said application and to take evidence both in support of and against said application. The committee held such a hearing which continued eight days at which a large number of witnesses were sworn and gave testimony as to the issues involved in said application. There were also filed with the committee numerous testimonials in support of said application. The applicant was present both in person and by counsel during the entire time of said hearing and the State Bar was represented by a duly appointed examiner during the last five days of said hearing. At the conclusion of said hearing the committee made findings of fact favorable to applicant and recommended his reinstatement to practice law in this state.

Before passing upon the report and recommendation of said committee and after said report had been filed with said board, it appointed one of its members, Newton M. Todd, Esq., as a "Reviewing Governor" to review the evidence and proceedings before said committee, and report his conclusions to the Board of Bar Governors. The "Reviewing Governor" complied with the order appointing him, and reported to the board his recommendation that the application of said Joseph P. Lacey for reinstatement and readmission as attorney at law be denied. After the receipt of this report and recommendation, the Board of Bar Governors held a hearing upon said application for reinstatement, at which hearing petitioner and his counsel and the examiner of the State Bar were present and presented arguments before the board for and against the reinstatement of petitioner. After argument of counsel, the matter before the board was submitted for decision. The vote upon this motion resulted in a tie, six members voting in favor of and six against said motion. Two members of the board deemed themselves disqualified and refrained from voting and one member of the board was absent. At a subsequent meeting of the board held one month thereafter, the previous vote upon the [81 P.2d 936] resolution to reinstate applicant was unanimously rescinded by the board. Thereupon the board proceeded to again vote upon said motion to recommend the reinstatement of applicant,

Page 701

with the result that the motion was lost, nine members voting against said motion and four in favor. The two members who deemed themselves disqualified refrained from voting as they had done at the previous vote on said motion. This final action by the Board of Bar Governors was taken on March 19, 1937. On October 15, 1937, applicant filed in this court his petition to be reinstated to the practice of law notwithstanding the adverse action of the Board of Bar Governors upon his application for reinstatement made before that body. That this court has the inherent power and authority to admit an applicant to practice...

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