LOS ANGELES — Manchester, Connecticut, attorney Jerry Gruenbaum recently was disbarred from practicing law in California.
The ruling, enacted on Dec. 4, 2016, stemmed from the attorney’s conviction on two counts of felony making and subscribing false tax returns. Gruenbaum also allegedly failed to pay income taxes on his reported $1.3 million a year earnings.
According to court documents, the attorney pleaded guilty to the charges on July 15, 2014.
The State Bar Court initially placed Gruenbaum on an interim suspension in June 2016 in order to grant the attorney adequate time to appeal the conviction. As no motions were filed on behalf of Gruenbaum, the State Bar continued the disciplinary process.
The State Bar Court reserves the right to disbar an attorney in situations where the following criteria, outlined in the California Business and Professional Code subsection 6102, is met. If the offense committed by the attorney is classified as a felony in any state or territory and also displays moral turpitude, summary disbarment is within reason. Gruenbaum’s tax-fraud charges are filed under the Business and Professional Code as an action falling within the bounds of moral turpitude, as his intentions were of a harmful nature. The State Bar Court categorizes a situation in which summary disbarment is on the table when the offense contains “the specific intent to deceive, defraud, steal, or make or suborn a false statement, or involved moral turpitude.”
Upon receiving the federal-court ruling from the state of Connecticut, it was recommended by the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel of the State Bar that the attorney be disbarred. The State Bar Court of California determined that Gruenbaum’s actions showed great moral turpitude, as he knowingly engaged in the felony criminal activity. The attorney was not granted a hearing. The motion for summary disbarment was filed May 4, 2016.
Gruenbaum will be required to comply with the California Rules of Court Rule 9.20 subsections (a) and (c) in regards to his suspension. The rules require Gruenbaum 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. Gruenbaum must then file the clerk of the State Bar Court that he has complied with the provisions of his disbarment.
According to his profile page on the State Bar of California website, Gruenbaum, 61, was admitted to the State Bar in 1996.
The California State Bar was established in 1927 by the state’s legislature and is governed by 19 trustees. The State Bar Court added appointed full-time judges in 1989. Court documents for all State Bar Court of California cases can be found online at calbar.ca.gov.