Portland criminal defense attorney suspended for 1.5 years – OregonLive.com

The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday ordered Portland criminal defense lawyer Gary B. Bertoni suspended from practicing law for a year and a half, citing “a pattern of disregard for the interests of his clients.”

The state’s high court issued its opinion after Bertoni appealed a February 2017 sanction – a one-year license suspension – by a state disciplinary board’s trial panel.

The panel found Bertoni failed to preserve client property, keep clients informed and improperly retained client funds after three separate complaints. It cited Bertoni’s “extraordinary repetition of negligence.”

Bertoni, 67, appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court, arguing that his misconduct warranted only a reprimand or at most a suspension of no longer than 30 days. His lawyer, Kevin Sali, argued that Bertoni’s errors were largely due to negligence.

The state bar, in its response, defended its action and argued for a harsher penalty, a two-year suspension, citing Bertoni’s failure to communicate adequately with imprisoned clients, properly handle their money or refund unearned fees.

The bar argued that Bertoni’s repeated violations showed a disregard for his clients’ interests that warranted a substantial sanction.

The Supreme Court agreed but didn’t find a two-year suspension warranted.

Read the ruling

In its determination of an 18-month suspension, the Supreme Court considered Bertoni’s substantial experience, that he committed numerous violations and that the affected clients were vulnerable victims, “which makes his failure to keep them reasonably informed all the more egregious.”

It further found that while some of Bertoni’s violations were due to negligence, many were done with his clear knowledge — including his refusal to refund a $3,000 trial fee to the grandmother of a client who never went to trial, his failure to respond to another client about the status of the case and his failure to provide a third client with sufficient information to make an informed decision about the transfer of her case to another lawyer.

The Supreme Court also noted that Bertoni had been sanctioned by the bar in the past for some of the same types of violations.

The violations at issue “are not an isolated occurrence,” but part of “a pattern of disregard for the interests of his clients that warrants an enhanced sanction,”  the court wrote.

The court noted only one mitigating factor for Bertoni: that he was experiencing serious financial and tax problems causing significant stress during the period of his violations.

The  court ordered Bertoni’s suspension to begin in 60 days.

The ruling follows Bertoni’s sentencing in federal court last month for failing to pay employment taxes. Bertoni was sentenced to five years of probation, three months of home detention on weekends and 500 hours of community service for failing to pay employment taxes. He also was ordered to pay $181,898.21 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

Two other complaints involving Bertoni are pending review or under investigation by the bar.

In 2012, the trial panel suspended Bertoni’s license for 150 days for mismanaging client money. In 2011, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute Bertoni for allegedly falsifying business records to cover his use of client money, saying the statute of limitations had expired.  

— Maxine Bernstein


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Multiple Criminal Defense Lawyers see no crime in Off-Duty Officer shooting – TheGrio (blog)

Amber Guyger Mugshot [Kaufman County Jail] | Botham Shem Jean [Facebook]

Criminal defense lawyers are telling one television station in Dallas that they do not see the crime in the case of a white off-duty police officer who fatally shot a Black neighbor when she says, she mistook his apartment for her own.

In the case of Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, attorneys are telling CBS 11 they are not as convinced as some protesters that the four-year department veteran intended to do anything wrong. Guyger, 30, has been charged with manslaughter in the Thursday night death of Botham Shem Jean, a 26-year-old employee of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In examining the arrest warrant naming Guyger, one lawyer said he was surprised not to see words such as “intentional” or “reckless” used, because they typically appear on such documents.

“It’s an interesting read,” criminal defense attorney George Milner told CBS 11. “It doesn’t read anything beyond negligence … they simply do not specify how she is reckless, which is the required mental state for manslaughter. It reads much more like an accidental killing — I mean, if someone were to drop a gun accidentally and it fired and hit somebody.”

The Texas Rangers, the equivalent of the state police in other places, are investigating the incident. Milner told CBS 11 that said his impression is that the Rangers were very careful not to implicate Guyger in the warrant.

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Another lawyer echoed Milner’s take that the document suggests a mistake was made.

“If it was a reasonable mistake of fact, that’s an affirmable defense that is going to weigh into this thing very heavily,” criminal defense lawyer Robert Hinton told the station.

Guyger has said she thought she was entering her third-floor apartment, one floor below Jean’s, when she shot and killed him. Lawyers representing the family have said neighbors reported hearing a woman’s voice saying, “Let me in, let me in.”

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LA district attorney declines to prosecute sex crime cases against Kevin Spacey, Anthony Anderson, and Steven Seagal

kevin spacey

  • The Los Angeles county district attorney has declined to prosecute sex crime cases against Kevin Spacey, Anthony Anderson, and Steven Seagal, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
  • In the cases against Spacey and Seagal, which dated back to the early 1990s, the statue of limitations had passed, and Anderson’s case was dropped after his accuser declined to be interviewed, authorities said.

The Los Angeles county district attorney has declined to prosecute sex crime cases against actors Kevin Spacey, Anthony Anderson, and Steven Seagal, according to The Hollywood Reporter

Authorities said the statute of limitations had passed in the cases it investigated against Spacey and Seagal, while Anderson’s case was dropped after his accuser declined to be interviewed by authorities.

Spacey was fired from the Netflix series “House of Cards” last year after numerous men accused him of sexual misconduct and assault, dating back to the early 1980s. The particular case of alleged sexual assault against Spacey that the LA district attorney announced it dropped on Tuesday took place in 1992, authorities told THR. 

The case of alleged sexual assault against Seagal took place in 1993, according to court documents obtained by THR, and like Spacey’s case, was ruled beyond the statute of limitations.

The LAPD announced in July that it had opened an investigation into a sexual assault claim made against “Black-ish” actor Anthony Anderson, but authorities said on Tuesday that they dropped the case after his unnamed accuser declined to be interviewed for the report she filed. 

Anderson’s representatives said in July that the actor “unequivocally” disputed the woman’s claims of assault. 

SEE ALSO: All the men who accused Kevin Spacey of sexual misconduct

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