STATE BAR COURT RECOMMENDS DISBARMENT OF IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY

STATE BAR COURT RECOMMENDS DISBARMENT OF IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY



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SAN FRANCISCO–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–Sept. 5, 2002–The State Bar Court Review Department has affirmed a recommendation that San Francisco immigration attorney Miguel Gadda (#64832) be disbarred from the practice of law for multiple acts of misconduct, including five instances in which his clients were ordered deported.

Gadda was found culpable of 17 counts of misconduct, including 10 counts of failing to perform legal services competently and one count of committing an act of moral turpitude. The infractions, which extended from 1994 to 1999, included commingling client funds and failing to return client files, return unearned fees promptly, respond promptly to reasonable status inquiries and notify clients of significant developments in their cases.

The 59-year-old attorney had sought review of an earlier disbarment recommendation of State Bar Court Hearing Judge Eugene E. Brott. The recommendation was upheld by Judge Madge Watai, writing on behalf of the Review Department, and will be sent to the California Supreme Court for imposition of discipline.

In her ruling, Watai said that Gadda’s misconduct indicates “a clear disrespect for (his) clients.” The Immigration Court judges before whom Gadda practiced, she noted, found ineffective assistance of counsel on Gadda’s part in at least six separate instances. Five of his clients were ordered deported in absentia by the Immigration Court, and a number of others were significantly harmed.

Gadda was disciplined for similar misconduct in 1990 when the Supreme Court found that he had been dishonest and failed to protect the interests of his immigration clients. “We doubt that any discipline less than disbarment can adequately protect the public against future acts of misconduct of the type which (Gadda) has repeatedly committed,” Watai wrote in her ruling last week.

Founded in 1927 by the State Legislature, the State Bar of California is an administrative arm of the California Supreme Court, serving the public and seeking to improve the justice system for more than 70 years. All lawyers practicing law in California courts must be members of the State Bar. In September 2002, membership reached 185,839, making it the largest state bar in the nation.

–30–jr/sf

CONTACT:

State Bar of California

Sherrie McLetchie, 415/538-2297

STATE BAR COURT RECOMMENDS DISBARMENT OF IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY