LOS ANGELES — The State Bar Court of California recently ruled to suspend Trabuco Canyon attorney David Robert Cohn from the practice of law for two years.
The ruling, which took effect Nov. 4 according to calbar.ca.gov, was the result of Cohn’s guilty plea to deceit or collusion by an attorney in a criminal case. The charge against him was a misdemeanor and he was initially placed on interim suspension in February 2016.
The 52-year-old attorney was hired by Carmelo Sanchez Flores around 2012 for a sexual assault charge. According to a November 2015 report by the Orange County Register, in December 2012, Cohn provided the prosecutor for the case with an altered psychological evaluation of his client. The date of the document had been changed, and certain aspects of the evaluation were discarded to paint Cohn’s client in a more favorable light to the jury.
Flores was eventually found guilty in 2014 and sentenced to 36 years to life in prison. The altered state of the evaluation was discovered after the trial. According to the Orange County Register report, a second altered document was also filed. The doctor used to evaluate Flores did not authorize either submitted document.
Cohn, who was admitted to the California State Bar in 1995 according to his bar profile page, was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years probation by a criminal court, the Orange County Register reported. The attorney is also required to pay $1,000 in fines and donate $10,000 to the Victim Witness Emergency Fund.
The State Bar Court of California found in its investigation that Cohn’s actions had caused significant harm to the pursuit of justice. However, numerous references were provided attesting to the attorney’s good character by both legal professionals and personal connections aiding Cohn’s case for suspension rather than a harsher ruling.
Conditions of Cohn’s probation include being required to provide any and all updated information to the Office of the State Bar within 10 days of the change. He will be required to check in with the office quarterly during his probation and must provide proof that he has abstained from the practice of law for a time of at least two years. Cohn will also be required to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. If he is unable to pass the exam, he will again be placed on suspension without a hearing.
Also with the suspension, Cohn must comply with the California Rules of Court Rule 9.20 subsections (a) and (c). The rule requires Cohn inform his clients of the ruling, provide whatever papers necessary to clients regarding their cases, return any unearned fees, and notify opposing counsel in any pending litigation of his disbarment. Cohn then must file with the clerk of the State Bar Court that he has complied with his disbarment provisions.