LOS ANGELES — The State Bar Court of California recently suspended Robert Alan Murray, a Bakersfield attorney, from the practice of law for one year after it found him guilty of creating false documents.
According to the March 31 decision, the falsified documents stem from a case in June 2013 when the Kern County District Attorney’s Office charged Efrain Velasco-Palacios with multiple counts of lewd conduct with a minor.
Murray, the district attorney assigned to the case, offered Palacios a plea bargain via a public defender that would give him 8 years in prison as opposed to the 16 years he would face if convicted by a jury. To further influence the public defender to accept the deal, Murray made it apparent that the case was still being investigated to prove a more heinous crime had been committed. If evidence of such a crime was discovered, the charges could carry a potential life sentence.
Prior to arrest, Palacios made several admissions in Spanish to the arresting officer of the acts he had committed against a 10-year-old girl. He did not admit to having sex with her. Murray allegedly added two lines of dialog to the admission from the arresting officer and Palacios. The added lines that falsely insinuated that Palacios had indeed had sex with the minor with a line stating “I’m just glad she’s not pregnant like her mother.”
When the altered confession was discovered, a motion to dismiss the case against Palacios was granted and upheld by an appellate court.
Murray will serve a one-year suspension followed by one year of probation. The attorney was admitted to the California State Bar in 2003. He is a graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law and had no prior record of discipline.