Public defender faces suspension following 2015 court sanction for abandoning client

By Karen Kidd | Oct 20, 2017

Long Beach attorney and deputy public defender Delia Marie Metoyer faces 30 days of suspension following a California State Bar decision after being found culpable on three counts of misconduct in the case of a client she was sanctioned for abandoning.

Metoyer would receive a stayed one-year suspension and be placed on year's probation with 30 days of actual suspension, according to the 29-page decision issued Sept. 15 by a state bar court hearing department.

The state bar's decision is pending final action by the California Supreme Court, an appeal before the state bar's review department or expiration of time in which parties may request further review within the state bar court.

Metoyer's recommended discipline was among the dispositions filed earlier this month by the state bar court's hearing department for September.  

Metoyer was admitted to the bar in California on June 7, 2000, according to her profile at the state bar website. Metoyer had had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to her profile.

Metoyer is a deputy public defender at the Los Angeles County Public Defender Compton branch office, according to the decision. Misconduct charges against her stemmed from the case of a client she'd been assigned to defend, whose trial for allegedly molesting a child was scheduled to commence Jan. 13, 2015, but was rescheduled two days later, according to a decision.

Metoyer had scheduled an MRI appointment Jan. 16, 2015, but did not inform the court until informal pretrial in-chambers discussions on the Jan 15, according to the decision. When the judge told her she would have to reschedule, Metoyer "became emotionally upset” and the judge ordered the discussion moved to "the courtroom and on the record", according to the decision. Metoyer didn’t show up, and the public defender's office eventually sent another attorney to the court to request a continuance of the trial, which was granted, according to the decision.

The following April, Metoyer was sanctioned for violating a court order and abandoning her client, according to the decision. Metoyer appealed the sanction, saying she had been denied due process and that the court abused its discretion but the appeals court upheld the sanction, making it find, according to the decision.

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