LOS ANGELES — David Wyser, a former
deputy prosecutor in Reno, Nevada, was disbarred by the State Bar
Court of California on Nov. 4.
The attorney, who obtained
his law degree from the San Fernando Valley College of Law, pleaded
guilty to accepting a bribe on July 2, 2013, a felony
According to an Indy Star news report,
Wyser accepted a campaign donation from Harrison Epperly, the father
of Paula Willoughby who was convicted in orchestrating the murder of
her husband 18 years prior. The sentence handed down in her
conviction in 1992 initially called for 110 years in prison, but was
reduced to 70 years in 1996.
The attorney claimed that he
had previously decided to approve the sentence modification in 2006,
but would wait until she had served the minimum sentence for murder
in the state. Willoughby achieved the minimum in 2009 while Wyser was
campaigning for re-election as the Republican nominee for prosecutor
of Hamilton County.
Epperly’s $2,500 donation during the
campaign was viewed by court officials as a “reward” for
Willoughby’s early release. The court originally sought to sentence
Wyser to 15 to 21 months in prison, but reduced the time to three
years of probation including six months of house arrest.
State Bar Court of California filed
to suspend Wyser on an interim basis on May 3, 2016. The suspension
went into effect on June 20. Court documents outline that Wyser had
violated Title 18 of the United States Code section 666 (a)(1)(B) for
accepting a bribe which is a felony involving “moral turpitude.”
separate motion was filed for permanent disbarment in Los Angeles
County on June 3, 2016. The order was approved and signed by Court
Administrator Rosalie Ruiz. No hearing was held for the attorney’s
disbarment, as the Business and Professional Code of California
states that an attorney is not entitled to a hearing when disbarment
is mandatory. The determination of mandatory disbarment was made in
consideration of factors involving Wyser’s felony conviction and
Court documents also state that Wyser must comply
with the California Rules of Court Rule
9.20 subsections (a) and (c). Wyser will be required to notify
all of his clients of the ruling, deliver any papers necessary to
clients in regards to their cases, return any fees that remain
unearned, and alert opposing counsel in any pending litigation of his
disbarment. Wyser must then file with the clerk of the state bar
court that he has complied with the provisions of his disbarment.
Wyser was licensed to practice both in
Nevada and California.
The State Bar of California was established
in 1927 by the state’s legislature and is governed by 19 trustees.
The court added appointed full-time judges in 1989. Court documents
for all State Bar Court of California cases can be found online at