Northern California Record

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Atherton attorney faces disbarment following felony domestic battery conviction


By Karen Kidd | Jul 5, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO (Northern California Record) — Atherton attorney Justin J Kim faces disbarment by default following a California State Bar Court recommendation after his conviction on felony domestic battery and other charges.

Kim was convicted of domestic battery with corporal injury, assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism under $400, domestic violence battery and two counts of criminal threats, according to the eight-page decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment June 29 by the state bar court.  Kim's discipline stems from multiple physical, psychological and verbal assaults upon his wife in January and February 2017, according to the decision and order.

In one incident, on Jan. 29, 2017, Kim forced his wife onto her knees to "ask for forgiveness," beat her with a wooden stick and then thanked her "for making me a wife beater," the decision and order said.

In May 2017, Kim pleaded guilty to all charges against him and was sentenced to three years' formal probation, 212 days in jail and "other conditions", the decision said.  

The state bar's recommendation 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.

The state bar court's recommendation included an order that rendered Kim involuntarily enrolled as an inactive member of the State Bar of California. That order was effective three calendar days after service, according to the recommendation.

Kim failed to participate in person or via counsel and state bar's decision and order for disbarment was entered by default. In such cases, in which 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.

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

Kim was admitted to the bar in California on July 16, 2005, according to his profile at the state bar website. Kim had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to the decision and order and his profile.

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