State Bar v. Langert

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtEDMONDS; SHENK, Acting C. J., and CARTER, TRAYNOR, SCHAUER and SPENCE, JJ., and PEEK
Citation43 Cal.2d 636,276 P.2d 596
PartiesThe STATE BAR of California, Petitioner, v. Ell David LANGERT, Respondent. S. F. 18981.
Decision Date16 November 1954

Page 596

276 P.2d 596
43 Cal.2d 636
The STATE BAR of California, Petitioner,
v.
Ell David LANGERT, Respondent.
S. F. 18981.
Supreme Court of California, in Bank.
Nov. 16, 1954.
As Modified on Denial of Rehearing Dec. 15, 1954.

[43 Cal.2d 637] Garrett H. Elmore, Jack A. Hayes, San Francisco, for petitioner.

Fitz-Gerald Ames, Sr., Jack H. Werchick, Harold A. Galloway, San Francisco, for respondent.

EDMONDS, Presiding Justice.

This original proceeding was brought by The State Bar to revoke an order admitting Eli David Langert to practice as an attorney at law. The petition alleges that Langert, with intent to conceal from the Committee of Bar Examiners certain material facts relating to his moral qualifications, knowingly falsified in answering certain questions bearing upon his eligibility to become a member of the bar of this state.

More specifically, The State Bar pleads the following facts:

In 1944, in his verified application to take the bar examination, Langert stated that he had never previously been examined for admission to practice law except in this state in 1943; that he had never held a license, the procurement of which required proof of good character; that he had never been reprimanded, censured or otherwise disciplined as an attorney or member of any profession or organization and that no charges had ever been made or filed or proceedings instituted against him. Other answers made by him were that his various address from 1927 to 1938 were Chicago, Illinois; Peoria, Illinois; and Henry, Illinois. During the same period, he said, he had worked in several capacities, none of which was the practice of law.

Langert took the bar examination and received a passing grade. Thereafter, the committee certified to this court that he had met the requirements for admission to practice, and recommended that he be admitted. The order admitting him to practice was entered in December, 1944.

Upon information and belief, The State Bar alleges that, contrary to the statements in the application, Langert, upon an examination in Illinois, was admitted to the practice of law in that state in 1927: that his only address from 1927 to 1938 was Rock Island, Illinois, in which city for the same [43 Cal.2d 638] period he was actively engaged in the practice of law. It is also said that five charges of unprofessional conduct as an attorney were made against him before the Grievance Committee of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Illinois prior to August, 1938, to which Langert had filed written answers. A further statement in the petition is that subsequent to August, 1938, after Langert had left Rock Island, three additional charges were filed.

In 1941, the petition continues, the Committee on Grievances of the Illinois State

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Bar Association, acting as commissioners of the Illinois Supreme Court, held a hearing on the eight charges. The committee found that three of these charges, all of which were filed before August, 1938, and of which he had actual knowledge, were true and recommended that Langert be disbarred. Thereafter, the Board of Governors of the Illinois State Bar Association referred the matter back to the committee on grievances to prepare a more complete record. There were no further proceedings in the State of Illinois.

[43 Cal.2d 639] It was Langert's plain duty to truly reply to the questions asked by the Committee of Bar Examiners. In re Jacobsen, 105 Cal.App. 236, 287 P. 131; In re Lasley, 61 Cal.App. 59, 60, 214 P. 284. The facts with respect to his prior conduct in the practice of the law in Illinois, might have justified an order refusing to allow him to take the bar examination in this state. Truthful answers to questions bearing upon his conduct in the communities in which he had lived before coming to California, at the least, would have justified further investigation of his record. The only reasonable inference which may be drawn from the record is that the committee's approval of Langert as an applicant for the bar examination and its subsequent certification of him as one who had met the requirements for admission to practice law were based upon the admittedly false answers in his application.

A deliberate concealment of charges of misconduct in another state has consistently been held grounds for revocation of a license by the courts of California. Spears v. State Bar, 211 Cal. 183, 294 P. 697, 72 A.L.R. 923; In re Jacobsen, 105 Cal.App. 236, 287 P. 131; In re Lasley, 61 Cal.App. 59, 214 P. 284; In re Wells, 36 Cal.App. 785, 172 P. 93; In re Mash, 28 Cal.App. 692, 153 P. 961.

Page 598

Langert relies upon In re Hovey, 7 Cal. Unrep. 203, 81 P. 1019, as authority to the contrary. But Hovey made no false affidavit and was admitted upon motion. The question here is whether a deliberate concealment of a material fact in a verified application to the Committee of Bar Examiners justifies revocation of the order admitting one to practice.

Langert argues that he is entitled to have the issue of his moral character redetermined by this court....

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6 practice notes
  • Practice and procedure: Patent and trademark cases rules of practice; representation of others before Patent and Trademark Office,
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...in weighing an applicant's overall character and fitness to practice law. See In re Leff, 619 P.2d 232 (Ariz. 1980); State Bar v. Langert, 276 P.2d 596 (Calif. 1954); Florida Board of Bar Examiners Re: Certified Question--Felony Convictions--Federal Youth Corrections Act, 361 So.2d 424 (Fla......
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...in weighing an applicant's overall character and fitness to practice law. See In re Leff, 619 P.2d 232 (Ariz. 1980); State Bar v. Langert, 276 P.2d 596 (Calif. 1954); Florida Board of Bar Examiners Re: Certified Question--Felony Convictions--Federal Youth Corrections Act, 361 So.2d 424 (Fla......
  • Attorney Grievance Com'n of Maryland v. Gilbert
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • October 6, 1986
    ...have considered intentional omissions or false statements on bar applications as grounds for disbarment. See, e.g., State Bar v. Langert, 43 Cal.2d 636, 276 P.2d 596 (1954) (disbarment for concealment of charges of misconduct in another state on bar application); People v. Culpepper, 645 P.......
  • Howe, Matter of
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • August 18, 1977
    ...to such a withdrawal thereof as would place him in the position as though no charges had ever been made. See State Bar v. Langert, 43 Cal.2d 636, 276 P.2d 596, 599 There may be other reasons which would justify an opposite conclusion if the Rollinson case had been before the North Dakota co......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 cases
  • Attorney Grievance Com'n of Maryland v. Gilbert
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • October 6, 1986
    ...have considered intentional omissions or false statements on bar applications as grounds for disbarment. See, e.g., State Bar v. Langert, 43 Cal.2d 636, 276 P.2d 596 (1954) (disbarment for concealment of charges of misconduct in another state on bar application); People v. Culpepper, 645 P.......
  • Howe, Matter of
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • August 18, 1977
    ...to such a withdrawal thereof as would place him in the position as though no charges had ever been made. See State Bar v. Langert, 43 Cal.2d 636, 276 P.2d 596, 599 There may be other reasons which would justify an opposite conclusion if the Rollinson case had been before the North Dakota co......
  • Scavone, Matter of
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • May 6, 1987
    ...license to practice law be immediately revoked. See Florida Board of Bar Examiners v. Lerner, 250 So.2d 852 (1971); State Bar v. Langert [43 Cal.2d 636], 276 P.2d 596 (Calif.1954); In re Klein, 242 App.Div. 494, 275 N.Y.S. 703, 704-705 (Sup.Ct.A.D.1934). Nothing short of this extreme sancti......
  • Goldstein v. State Bar, No. S006541
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • January 26, 1989
    ...withdraw from petitioner the benefits he wrongfully obtained. We were confronted with a similar situation in State Bar v. Langert (1954) 43 Cal.2d 636, 276 P.2d 596. In Langert, we found that an attorney had gained admission to the bar as a result of having made materially false statements ......

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