Thursday, October 27, 2022

Lawyer is disbarred after email falsely claims he is dead

Estate planningLast month, the California Supreme Court approved the disbarment of Donald Martin Stone. An email was sent to deputy trial counsel investigating Stone stating that he passed away, however, while attempting to confirm this information, an investigator discovered Stone alive and well at a new address.

Stone was initially facing disciplinary hearings for failing to disclose a no-contest plea to a petty theft misdemeanor in 1995, which was ultimately vacated after he successfully completed probation. He asked for the disciplinary case to be dismissed due to the fact he was retired, but court moved forward anyway. Stone missed four bar court appearances, including his ethics trial. It was at this point an email address associated with stone sent an email to the bar informing them that Stone had “passed away months ago.”

Once Stone was found alive, the bar submitted a petition for disbarment. The disbarment was finalized early this month.

For more information see Debra Cassens Weiss “Lawyer is disbarred after email falsely claims he is dead,” ABA Journal, October 10, 2022.

Special thanks to Adam J. Hirsch (Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

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