The California State Bar Disciplinary Panel recently upheld a judge’s recommendation to suspend former Santa Clara County prosecutor Benjamin Field from the State Bar for four years. Field appealed to the State Bar Review Department’s finding that he had withheld exculpatory evidence and committed other misconduct in four cases he had prosecuted.
He was accused of violating court orders and directives, performing incompetently, failing to obey the law, withholding evidence, misleading a judge, and committing “multiple acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.”
Field appealed the decision in hopes of receiving a lenient decision. Instead, he received a suspension from the bar for four years and five years of probation. The decision was made to “protect the public and the courts” and “preserve public confidence in the legal profession and to maintain high professional standards for attorneys.”
The first accusation of misconduct against Field was made in 1995. In a sexual assault case involving a minor, Field obtained a dental examination of the defendant, disobeying a court order that resulted in the judge suppressing the evidence taken from it. On two occasions in 2003, Field intentionally withheld a witness statement that was favorable to the defense in a habeas corpus proceeding involving a sexual assault case, and he intentionally withheld a defendant’s statement favorable to co-defendants in a murder case. In both cases that year, Field was found to have committed a discovery violation. In the latter murder case, one of the charges against the defendants was dismissed due to Field’s misconduct. And in 2005, Field made an improper closing argument in a sexually violent predator case that was deemed “deceptive and reprehensible” by the court presiding over the case. As a result, the appellate court reversed the judgment committing the defendant as a sexually violent predator.
Field’s misconduct would have warranted a complete disbarment, but the Disciplinary Panel took other factors into consideration, including the fact that he cooperated with the State Bar during his disciplinary investigation, the pro bono services he had rendered, and the 36 good character witnesses who testified on Field’s behalf during his State Bar Court trial.
If you or a loved is being prosecuted for a crime, it is important to have an experienced Southern California defense attorney representing your case. Your attorney should know every detail about your case, including the actions of the judge and prosecutors. The law firm of Wallin & Klarich has over 30 years of experience successfully defending those accused of crimes and ensuring that their clients receive a fair trial. Call today at 888-280-6839 or visit www.wklaw.com. We will be there when you call.