Northern California Record

Thursday, April 2, 2020

State bar backs disbarment for Marina Del Rey attorney after domestic violence conviction

By Karen Kidd | May 4, 2018

General court 06

SAN FRANCISCO (Northern California Record) — Marina Del Rey attorney Edwin Jeffrey Howard faces disbarment by default following a State Bar of California recommendation stemming from a 2014 felony domestic violence conviction for which he was suspended.

Howard had used a deadly weapon in his attack on his girlfriend of 10 years, according to the seven-page decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment issued April 19 by the state bar court. The court abated its proceedings against Howard following his subsequent incarceration but resumed proceedings last summer.

Howard failed to participate in person or via counsel and the state bar's decision and order for disbarment were entered by default. In such cases, when an attorney fails to participate in a California State Bar disciplinary proceeding despite adequate notice and opportunity, the bar invokes Rule 5.85, which provides the procedure for the state bar to recommend an attorney’s disbarment.

The state bar's entry for default was issued in December.

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.

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

Howard was admitted to the bar in California on June 14, 1988, according to his profile at the state bar website. Howard had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to his profile and the order.

Howard's disbarment stems from an order for interim suspension handed down in May 2014 after he was convicted of felony domestic violence and later incarcerated at  Valley State Prison in Chowchilla, according to the order and information on his state bar profile. The state bar's court abated proceedings against Howard, then 58, in August 2014 because of his incarceration, according to the order.

"This matter remained in abatement for the next three years," the order said.

Howard was placed on inactive enrollment the following September after he alerted the state bar court that he was "unable to assist in the defense of that matter due to mental incompetence resulting from hydrocephalus and cognitive problems".

In July 2017 a court official determined Howard was no longer incarcerated and proceedings against him continued.

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State Bar of CaliforniaCalifornia Supreme CourtState Bar Court of California