Legal Ethics

Disbarred lawyer threatens suit; he was accused of bringing pepper spray, stun gun to deposition

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Stun gun

A San Diego lawyer disbarred in a default judgment after walking out of his disciplinary trial says he plans to sue state officials involved in the proceedings.

The former lawyer, Douglas James Crawford, was accused of bringing pepper spray and a stun gun to a deposition, threatening to use them on opposing counsel if things got out of hand, and discharging the stun gun while pointing it toward opposing counsel, according to a summary of his case in the California Bar Journal. He was disbarred in September.

Crawford tells the San Diego Union-Tribune that he plans to sue for civil rights violations. He says he walked out of the disciplinary trial because he believed lawyers for the State Bar of California misrepresented facts and improperly kept him from presenting witnesses and evidence.

“As far as the disbarment, I could care less,” Crawford told the Union-Tribune. β€œIt’s not really a group of people I want to associate myself with.”

A state bar court had found Crawford culpable in four of eight misconduct charges against him, according to the California Bar Journal summary and a July 2015 decision (PDF) by the bar court hearing department. The bar court found he engaged in moral turpitude in the pepper spray and stun gun incident.

Crawford told the Union-Tribune that he brought the stun gun and pepper spray to the deposition because someone had brought a gun to another deposition and he felt unsafe. He said he displayed the stun gun and pepper spray to disclose that he was armed, but he never threatened anyone with them.

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