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ACSOLCaliforniaGeneral News

Attorney Ordered to Reimburse Attorney Fees to Registered Citizen

A Los Angeles attorney was recently ordered to reimburse most, although not all, attorney fees paid by a registered citizen and a family member seeking to obtain relief from registration after an arbitrator from the L.A. County Bar Association found that the clients “were clearly given bad advice”.

The attorney in this matter advised his clients that the best available relief from registration was a Writ of Mandate.  The attorney also advised his client that he was not eligible to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation (COR).

The registered citizen paid the attorney a total of $4,500 for preparation and filing of a Writ of Mandate which the court denied.  Due to the attorney’s advice, the registered citizen did not apply for a COR although he was eligible to do so at the time.  The registered citizen’s eligibility to apply for a COR later ended due to passage of a new state law affecting individuals convicted of Penal Code Section 311.11.

The arbitrator in this case found that the registered citizen was harmed because “both the option to file a Writ of Mandate and that of obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation were closed off to persons” in the position of the registered citizen.  The arbitrator also found that the harm was solely attributable to the attorney due to his failure to advise the client that he was eligible to apply for a COR.

“Clients were clearly given bad advice and should have been given the option of filing for a Certificate,” the arbitrator ruled.  Based upon this ruling, the arbitrator ordered the attorney to reimburse $3,000 to the clients.  The arbitrator allowed the attorney to keep $1,500 of the fee because it was uncertain that the registered citizen would have been granted a COR.

During the arbitration, the registered citizen was represented by attorney Chance Oberstein who is vice president of California RSOL.

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This is another example of the moving target (always one more step beyond reach) that the legislators have used in the case of the COR to perpetuate stigma and punishment to registrants. COR’s should be available to all based on the dates and laws in effect at the time of their sentencing. Anything short of that is a breach of the constitution and should be challenged.

The individual in this case should be granted a COR especially based on the egregious and damaging tactics used by his former attorney.

These unscrupulous attorneys mine data from the web and do mass mailings to commit their form of fraud; and the attorney that Chance went after is a fraud.They offer false hope. I’ve received several solicitations from attorneys in the mail promising to get me off of the registry for a fee. They call themselves “experts,” but in reality are nothing more than peddlers of falsehood. I would have loved to see the look on that frauds face as he was getting the legal crap knocked out of him by Chance, a REAL expert.

I write letters to the California State Bar each and every time i see one of these letters.

In time, something should begin to happen.

You bring up a good point, Nicholas. I suggest everyone who gets a letter to forward it to a clearinghouse email account so that the attorney be vetted. The account should be controlled by someone at CA RSOL to ensure that personal details that are in the letter are not exposed. To be quite frank, not all attorneys who may advertise via email are scams, but for the most part they are, and to be able to vet them all in one location for either warning or recommendation would be very helpful. One more point: Not sure it was possible,… Read more »

It’s been my experience (two times) that any solicitations via snail mail or email should be ignored and tossed into the round file. My sister was fortunate Chance was willing to help in this case. She is not getting everything back, but at least she is getting something. The first time I fell for this scam was in 2001 as I recollect. This attorney took my money and a few weeks later came back saying that my case was hopeless and that I “would never get off of the registry.” I really do wish I was there to see the… Read more »

I am confused. Can you please explain where it says 311.11’s can’t receive a COR of be relieved of the duty to register? I cannot seem to find it.

The passing of AB 20 prohibits those convicted of PC 311 offenses to get a dismissal / expungemenet of their conviction under PC 1203.4. It became effective on 1/1/2014. A dismissal is a requirement for a CoR. Without it a CoR is not possible.

Which is bizarre since, best that I can tell, PC 4852, the section dealing with CoR, STILL specifically lists a shorter waiting period (7 years) for those convicted of PC 311.xx than other 290 offenses.

Aaahhh, so many lawsuits to file…..

More retroactive punishment.

But if you went to state prison your not eligible for 1203.4 anyways but are still eligible for cor after 10 years is my understanding. It’s so confusing.according to what I have read an expungement is only requires for misdemeanors. If it was a felony and you did not receive probation you are eligible for cor.

“But if you went to state prison your not eligible for 1203.4 anyways” – that is entirely incorrect. In the last 20 or so years there were some sections that are ineligible to get 1203.4 relief. (Section 269, subdivision (c) of Section 286, Section 288, subdivision (c) of Section 288a, Section 288.5, Section 288.7, or subdivision (j) of Section 289) As of Jan 2014 PC 311 offenses were added to that list. It does not address CoRs per se, but since a dismissal under 1203.4 is required for a CoR it is essentially the same thing. It is unclear if… Read more »

This is how I have read everything, If you were convicted of a felony and confined in a state prison on May 13, 1943, or convicted of a felony after that date and committed to a state prison, institution, or agency, you may file a petition for a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon if you can demonstrate the following: (1) That you have resided continuously in California, after leaving prison, for the five years immediately preceding the filing of this petition; (2) That you have completed the applicable rehabilitation period set forth below in Section 2 of these instructions; and… Read more »

I was shown a little add on of a few words (seemingly more like snuck in) that closed what someone considered a loophole, making it virtually next to impossible for someone convicted of 311.11 to be relieved of their “duty” (more like forced under pain of imprisonment) to register. Chance showed me in his office one day, but I can’t seem to find it on the very wordy and long winded CPC 311.11 doc. Perhaps you should seek counsel with an experienced attorney because there just might be something about your case that will give you a chance to get… Read more »

This is exactly what I am talking about when I say people and states can be held liable in civil courts for harm that they have caused a individual. It has nothing to do with the constitutional issues or with the legality of the registry it simple cause and effect issue. The state is at minimum partially liable for the harm being caused by the publicly accessible website and for distribution of current addresses and current photos which would otherwise not be public records……..

Great article. When I plead no contest to (1) battery case years ago, my counselor looked me in the eye and stated I would on register until I had the wobbler reduced to a misdemeanor. I took his advice very seriously. I found this to be untrue. I attempted to call him after and he never returned my calls/he is now a Commisioner in OC.

After paying our attorney 25,000 he abandoned our case after our son would not accept the plea and his phone had been disconnected. I needed to get something back in order to hire another attorney. In counties where there is no local bar, you must file with the State Bar. You also must pay the State Bar 25% of the amount you are requesting back, so I only requested half. It’s a lot of work, but for me, worth it. I had to travel from San Diego to Sacramento to attend the hearing. After winning my case, I also had… Read more »

I hired and local attorney, about 12 years ago, and gave him about $4500 retainer and he did some work, however, he never finish it. He has about $500 in un-use retainer. I have been by his office several times and receptionist left notes to-call me. I have not yet received that call.

I’d call someone like Chance or someone with similar experience to see what can be done about this. Why? Because what this attorney is doing totally sucks!

I was under the impression that a violation of PC 311.xx excluded one from being granted a dismissal / expungement under PC 1203.4, the required basis for CoR application, AS OF (I believe) 1/1/2014, per AB 20 – meaning, IF the offense was COMMITTED AFTER that date.

Is this not correct?

This pertains to my interests as well. Can anyone shed some light on this?

‘d say that the great majority of us that had been arrested for their first time ever acted like deer in the headlights. I was crushed, humiliated, ashamed and completely lost. I hired an attorney that came recommended because she was a “good person.” Wrong qualifications for sure, but when one is in that fearful, panicked state of mind, what do you do, but grab the first person that offers any hope. She did little to advocate for me and at a cost of $20K it was money poorly spent. I came back to her asking for my file, which… Read more »

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