SAN FRANCISCO – Longtime Lafayette attorney Diddo Ruth Clark faces suspension and probation following an April 17 California Supreme Court order after she allegedly appeared in court for a client without authority, according to a recent report issued by the State Bar of California and court documents.
The Supreme Court handed down a stayed one-year suspension and a year of conditional probation with the first 60 days spent on suspension. Conditions of Clark's probation include passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination as previously recommended by the California State Bar Court's Hearing Department.
The high court also denied Clark's petition for review and ordered her to pay costs.
Clark's discipline will be effective Friday, May 17, according to an announcement recently posted on the state bar's website.
Clark was admitted to the bar in California on June 23, 1978, according to her profile at the state bar website.
Clark was charged with three counts of misconduct in representing her brother in an appeal, according to an 18-page State Bar Court opinion issued in January. Clark was alleged to have appeared for a party without authority, sought to mislead a judge and misrepresentation.
"The gravamen of these charges is that Clark continued to submit documents to the court on behalf of her brother after he had filed an incomplete substitution of attorney form and told Clark that he no longer wanted her to represent him," the opinion said.
The State Bar Court's hearing judge found Clark culpable in one of the counts, appearing for a party without authority, and recommended 60 days of actual suspension. Clark appealed the recommendation, maintaining that she was not culpable.
"Upon our independent review of the record, we reject Clark's arguments and, like the hearing judge, find her culpable of appearing for a party without authority," the opinion said. "We affirm the judge's findings of facts and law, and her aggravation and mitigation findings, except for one, and agree that a 60-day actual suspension is appropriate discipline."