Legal Ethics

Lawyer is ordered jailed for alleged sabotage of client's psychiatric exam

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A California judge has ordered a civil rights lawyer to spend a day in jail for warning a psychiatrist—in front of the lawyer’s teen client—that a mental health exam would “retraumatize” the girl and cause her to cry uncontrollably.

The psychiatric exam that followed went fine until the psychiatrist questioned the teen about her allegations that she was assaulted at the age of 13 in the restroom of a Los Angles school, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“The moment I asked her, on a cue, she started crying, stopped answering the questions and that was pretty much the end of it,” according to testimony by psychiatrist Mohan Nair, who was hired by the school district, the defendant in the negligence suit filed on behalf of the girl.

On Wednesday, Judge William Barry of Los Angeles County said the lawyer, Luis Carrillo, had interfered with psychiatric examination and held him in contempt of court. Carillo had issued the warning in the lobby of the psychiatrist’s office, just before the exam.

Barry had previously rejected Carrillo’s request to bar the psychiatrist from asking the girl about the attack. During the hearing on Wednesday, Barry said Carrillo had committed a “flagrant violation” of his order by trying to influence the scope of his exam.

After the hearing, Carrillo said he didn’t regret his actions and the school district was trying to intimidate his client with the psychiatric exam, according to the Los Angeles Times account. School officials are not only “traumatizing kids who file lawsuits against them, but now they’re going after the lawyers,” he said.

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