SAN FRANCISCO (Northern California Record) — Hemet attorney Laura Anita Ozols, counsel to a now-convicted murderer in a Riverside cold case, faces disbarment following a California State Bar Court recommendation and she says she doesn't want to be "bugged" about it.
"[Ozols] stated that she did not want to participate in the imminent disciplinary proceedings and requested that OCTC [Office of Chief Trial Counsel] 'stop bugging' her," said the eight-page decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment issued July 18 by the state bar court. Ozols made the comment during a telephone conversation with an OCTC senior trial counsel, according to the decision and order.
"She went on to state that she did not want to be an attorney and would be leaving the state of California," the decision and order said.
Ozols has not otherwise responded to the OCTC, did not appear at her trial in March and the order for her disbarment was entered by default. In such cases, in which an attorney fails to participate in a State Bar of California 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 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.
Allegations against Ozol stemmed from her representation of Leonard Terrance Woods, who in March 2016 was convicted in the 1992 strangulation death of a Riverside woman. Counts against Ozol include suppressing evidence, failing to obey a court order and seeking to mislead a judge.
The state bar court's recommendation included an involuntary inactive enrollment order that rendered Ozols 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.
Ozols's recommended discipline was among the dispositions filed earlier this month by the state bar court's hearing department for July.
Ozols was admitted to the bar in California on Dec. 3, 2001, according to her profile at the state bar website. Ozols had no prior discipline before the state bar and has no other disciplinary matters pending, according to the decision and order.