Indio attorney's misconduct charges dismissed

By Karen Kidd | Sep 10, 2017

Allegations of misconduct against Indio attorney Jerry Steven Morgan, including charges that arose from a 2007 gang-related shooting case, have been dismissed for lack of "clear and convincing evidence", according to a recent California State Bar filing.

Morgan had been charged with two counts of misconduct in two matters, both counts alleging Morgan failed to obey a court order, according to the 16-page order of dismissal handed down July 21 by the state bar court's hearing department. "The office of chief trial counsel of the State Bar of California (OCTC) has the burden of proving these charges by clear and convincing evidence," the order said.

"Based on the stipulated facts and the evidence admitted at trial, this court finds that OCTC failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence, that respondent is culpable of violating court orders as alleged. Thus, this matter is dismissed with prejudice."

Morgan was admitted to the bar in California on Nov. 29, 1978, according to his profile at the state bar website.

The OCTC initiated the proceeding Dec. 21, 2016, with the filing of a notice of disciplinary charges against Morgan, who filed a response on Jan. 13, according to the order. A four-day trial began March 21 and closing briefs were filed in late May, according to the order.

The allegations against Morgan stemmed partially from a Sept. 3, 2007, fatal gang-related shooting of four victims in which Morgan represented the Riverside County District Attorney's Office in two trials, according to the order. The trial court in that case found Morgan "engaged in prosecutorial misconduct but found the error was not prejudicial and denied the motion for a mistrial," the order said.

The trial court also made several findings that Morgan violated a pretrial order, according to the order. The OCTC later charged Morgan with failing to obey the trial court’s pretrial order, maintaining Morgan violated the court's order, in part, by eliciting inadmissible testimonial evidence from a witness, according to the order.

The state bar court did not find Morgan willfully culpable, according to the order. "OCTC did not establish clear and convincing evidence that the court ordered [Morgan] to forbear an act in connection with or in the course of [Morgan]’s profession," the order said.

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