SAN FRANCISCO -- Los Angeles attorney Spencer Freeman Smith faces suspension and probation following a State Bar of California recommendation after he was found culpable of failing to obey the terms of his interim suspension handed down following his 2015 manslaughter conviction.
The state bar court recommended Smith receive a stayed two-year suspension and be placed on two years' probation with the first year spent suspended, according to the 19-page decision issued Feb. 27 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 time in which parties can request further review within the state bar court.
Smith's recommended discipline was among the dispositions filed earlier this month by the state bar court's hearing department for February.
Smith was admitted to the California bar June 3, 2005, according to his profile at the state bar website.
In September 2015, an Alameda County judge sentenced Smith to jail time and five years of felony probation after he killed a Chinese tourist in a hit-and-run accident in Dublin in 2012, according to a news report at the time. The following month, Smith was placed on interim suspension, according to information on his state bar profile.
A state bar review department in February 2016 again placed Smith on interim suspension "ordered him to comply with California Rules of Court rule 9.20," the state bar court's decision said. "After concluding that he failed to do so," the state bar's office of chief trial counsel filed notice of disciplinary charges against Smith in July of the following year, according to the decision.
In November 2017, Smith filed a motion to abate the proceedings pending outcome of the appeal of his criminal conviction, according to the decision. The state bar court denied the motion in December after finding Smith's appeal of his criminal conviction unrelated to charges in the latest matter, according to the decision.
"Regardless of the outcome of his criminal appeal, even if successful, it would not absolve [Smith] of his responsibility to comply with the order in this case," the decision said.