LOS ANGELES — The State Bar of California ruled on Nov. 20 to suspend Allison Christine Worden, a former San Diego County deputy district attorney, from the practice of law for 60 days, according to the State Bar website.
The 60-day period ended Feb. 3. Worden also will serve one year of probation.
The decision stemmed from a 2011 incident in which Worden was found guilty of obstruction of justice and destruction of a traffic citation. Both offenses are misdemeanors.
In May 2011, according to court documents, Worden and another deputy district attorney were pulled over by San Diego police for a traffic violation. Two tickets were issued to Worden and her colleague for the former’s failure to wear a seat belt. After the violation, Worden allegedly contacted a family friend and sergeant with the Traffic Division of the San Diego Police Department to have the ticket dismissed.
Worden then allegedly instructed her coworker to destroy her own ticket but she refused to do so. The matter was brought to court in February 2013, where a jury found Worden guilty of the two misdemeanors. Worden was sentenced to three years' criminal probation and one day in jail, and was required to pay $1,500 in fines and serve 200 hours of community service. Worden resigned from her position following the ruling.
Worden appealed the ruling in 2013, but was unsuccessful and the ruling was made final. In February 2016, the Review Department of the State Bar Court requested a hearing be held for the attorney. The aggravating factor against Worden involved the harm her misconduct had caused the integrity of the legal system because of her position.
However, several mitigating factors were also taken into account. Worden was able to produce 25 individuals to testify to her good character. In addition, Worden has participated in extensive community service since 2001. Worden was also able to save the State Bar time and resources by entering into the stipulation prior to a hearing. The attorney has no prior record of discipline in her career.
The official ruling places Worden on a one-year stayed suspension, of which 60 days must actually be served. The attorney also will serve one year of probation during which she will be required to submit quarterly updates to the Office of Probation and report any changes in her status within 10 days. In addition to the suspension, Worden must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. Failure to pass the exam or to follow any other conditions of her probation will result in another year of suspension without hearing.
Worden is also required to provide the Office of Probation proof of attendance and passage for ethics school, a requirement unique to California disciplinary action.
Court documents for all State Bar Court of California cases can be found online at calbar.ca.gov.