SAN FRANCISCO — Los Angeles attorney Lisa Michelle Bassis, practicing in California for more than 38 years, faces a stayed suspension of one year and two years' probation after she failed to file a timely petition in federal court on behalf of a convicted child molester, according to a recent State Bar of California recommendation.
The state bar court found Bassis culpabable of failing to act with competence and misrepresentation when she failed to timely file the petition on behalf of Payman Borhan, who was convicted in December 2002 of two counts of committing a lewd act upon a child, according to the 30-page decision Feb. 14 by the state bar court.
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 can request further review within the state bar court.
Bassis' recommended discipline was among the dispositions filed earlier this month by the state bar court's hearing department for February.
Bassis was admitted to the California bar on Nov. 29, 1979, according to her profile at the state bar website. Bassis had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to her profile.
Bassis' "lack of knowledge about a controlling Ninth Circuit decision" caused her to miss a September 2006 deadline to file a habeas corpus petition "on behalf of a very difficult client/prisoner," the decision said.
Borhan ultimately "alleged that he was the victim of abandonment by" Bassis and in October 2014, following lengthy legal proceedings, the district court agreed, according to the decision. The district court ruled Borhan was entitled to equitable tolling and, because Bassis' actions had been "tantamount to abandonment," deemed the petition had been timely filed, the decision said.
"Borhan's habeas writ was subsequently considered on the merits and dismissed with prejudice May 8, 2017," the decision said.
Bassis' situation was very unusual, according to the decision; and the stayed suspension and probation were appropriate "given the nature and highly unusual circumstances of [Bassis]' misconduct, the lack of any resulting harm" and her more than three decades "of discipline-free practice," the decision said.