Arleta attorney faces disbarment by default after allegedly failing to cooperate in investigation

By Karen Kidd | Sep 12, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO (Northern California Record) — Longtime Arleta attorney Howard Stephen Levine faces possible disbarment by default following a recently announced California State Bar Court recommendation over a single count of misconduct.

Levine allegedly failed to cooperate with the state bar disciplinary investigation, according to the seven-page decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment issued Aug. 28 by the state bar court.

Levine has one pending investigation matter, according to the decision and order.

Levine failed to participate in person or via counsel and state bar's decision and order for disbarment was entered by default. In such cases, when 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 entry for default was entered in February and the case was submitted for decision in July.

The state bar's recommendation awaits 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 Levine 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.

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

Levine was admitted to the bar in California on Dec. 20, 1974, according to his profile at the state bar website. The state bar's client security fund has not paid any claims as a result of Levine's alleged misconduct, according to the decision and order.

In a prior discipline in May 1998, Levine was privately reproved after he stipulated failing to promptly notify a client of funds received, promptly pay client funds and employ means consistent with the truth in a single client matter, according to the decision and order.

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