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Legal Ethics

Jailhouse Sex Merits Disbarment, Top Calif. Court Says

Posted Dec 7, 2010 4:30 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A California lawyer's claim that jailhouse sex was consensual and lasted no more than "an hour's total duration" shows he still doesn't get it and should be disbarred, a state bar court judge held and the state supreme court agreed.

In an order last week it held that Patrick Earl Marshall, 63, will be disbarred effective Jan. 1, reports the State Bar of California.

Marshall, who had sex with two incarcerated female clients at the San Benito County Jail while he was working as a contract public defender, failed to recognize that it is impossible for a client in this situation to consent to sex, according to an opinion by State Bar Court Judge Lucy Armendariz.

Likewise, "having improper sexual relations with a client breaches the basic notions of trust and integrity and endangers public confidence in the legal profession, irrespective of its duration."

The Hollister Free Lance says the incidents at issue date back to 1995 and provides further details.

Marshall was admitted in 1975 and this was his only disciplinary matter, notes the Metropolitan News-Enterprise.

The articles don't include any comment from Marshall. However, the Free Lance says he commented, in 2007, after an earlier disciplinary hearing resulted in a one-year stayed suspension, that he had been through a "tough time a few years ago."

The suspension, followed by a two-year period of probation, was successfully appealed by the prosecution, resulting in Marshall's disbarment.

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