Court considers attorney's previous DUI offenses for disbarment over billing statement

By Kerry Goff | Aug 18, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO – Marc Anthony Guillory, an attorney who practices law in Oakland, was disbarred on May 28 for allegedly failing to provide his client with a final billing statement as she requested.

He also failed to render an appropriate accounting to the client regarding the $3,000 in client funds he received, which was in “willful violation” of Rules of Professional Conduct.

Guillory’s disbarment was a proverbial final nail in the coffin after his past disciplinary proceedings involving four separate DUI offenses that led to his suspension for three years. The court took into account his past disciplines and determined that disbarment was the best course of action.

“Generally, if the misconduct of a new disciplinary matter occurred prior, or simultaneous in time to the imposition of discipline in a prior matter, the court in the subsequent disciplinary matter takes into consideration the overlapping time periods of the misconduct,” the court said.

In Guillory’s matter, the court explained that the present and past misconduct is not contemporaneous.

“His most recent misconduct occurred in June 2014, whereas his prior misconduct concluded with his last DUI in December 2012. The only issue is the lack of finality of his prior disciplinary matter, which, for disciplinary purposes, is still considered a prior.”

The court explained that in June 2014, when Guillory failed to respond to his client’s request for an accounting statement, he was aware of the Feb. 13, 2014, Hearing Department’s recommendation for a two-year actual suspension. Thus, he should have been mindful of his ethical duties given his pending appeal of a lengthy period of suspension.

“Instead (Guillory) committed additional misconduct,” the court said. “Given these circumstances, disbarment is the necessary disciplinary response for the protection of the public.”

The official court document also explained that between 1999 and 2012, Guillory was convicted of four alcohol-related driving offenses.

"This case demonstrates that significant professional discipline may be imposed for multiple misdemeanor convictions of driving under the influence (DUI) where the surrounding facts and circumstances involve moral turpitude," the official court document said about the previous infractions by Guillory.

The court document explained that from the start of his career, Guillory has been on notice that the State Bar considers alcohol-related driving convictions to be a serious matter. His first conviction occurred while he was in law school, and it affected his admission to the bar. He promised the Moral Character Committee during the admissions process that he would not drink and drive again.

"Nevertheless, he did so repeatedly after becoming an attorney, evidencing a lack of concern for public safety and respect for the legal system," the court said. "Given these circumstances, as well as the serious aggravation (multiple acts and indifference) and lack of mitigation, we affirm the hearing judge’s recommendation of a two-year actual suspension with conditions, including proof of his rehabilitation and fitness to practice law."

Furthermore, the court ordered an additional year to Guillory’s suspension based on his repeated misbehavior.

Guillory’s prior offenses led the court to evaluate his most current conduct as further confirmation of his lack of professional conduct and found disbarment the best course of action.

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