Sex with clients remains taboo for attorneys.
Patrick Marshall found that out Thursday when the State Bar Court — under pressure from the California Supreme Court — recommended disbarment for the Hollister solo practitioner, three years after giving him a stayed suspension for allegedly having sex with two female inmates he was representing in San Benito County.
Marshall, who was a contract public defender for the inmates, had argued the sex was consensual and of short duration, according to the State Bar.
“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,” Judge Lucy Armendariz held. “His persistent claims that the sexual relations were consensual and that [one woman] never told him to stop are indeed troubling and adversely reflect on his fitness to practice law.”
In 2007 State Bar Court Judge Patrice McElroy imposed a one-year stayed suspension and two years' probation because Marshall, 63, had successfully completed the State Bar’s alternative discipline program, which allows for substance abuse or mental health treatment before a case is decided.
State Bar prosecutors appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, which last year ordered further hearings. Marshall will be on involuntary inactive status until the Supreme Court acts on Armendariz’s recommendation.