Goleta attorney John Francis Shellabarger faces disbarment following a recent California State Bar recommendation over allegations he violated probation conditions previously imposed by the California Supreme Court.
Shellabarger had prior records of discipline and should have be aware of the "need for strict compliance with his reporting obligations," said the 12-page decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment issued Oct. 18 by the state bar. "Not only did he fail to comply by the deadlines ordered by the Supreme Court (and listed in the letter from the Office of Probation), his failures to comply continued even after the instant disciplinary action was brought."
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.
Shellabarger's recommended discipline was among the dispositions filed earlier this month by the state bar court's hearing department for October.
Shellabarger was admitted to the bar in California on Dec. 11, 1987, according to his profile at the state bar website. Shellabarger has not been eligible to practice law in California since May 2016, when he was suspended for 60 days and placed on three years' probation after he failed to comply with the terms of an earlier private reproval, according to information on his state bar profile. The reproval resulted from Shellabarger's failure to comply with a court order imposing sanctions, according to the decision.
As part of his probation requirements, Shellabarger had been ordered to contact the probation office to schedule a meeting to review the terms and conditions of his probation by June 28, 2016, but he failed to do so, according to the decision.
In late September 2016, the probation office sent a second reminder letter with a list of deadlines and enclosures, as well as a copy of the supreme court's order, and other documents, the decision said. Shellabarger acknowledged that he received the letter but "he elected not to comply with any of the probation conditions imposed upon him on his conclusion that the order was not binding on him," the decision said.
Shellabarger also failed to file quarterly reports and did not submit a statement of compliance as required, the decision ruled.