Bar associations in California and Washington, D.C., are joining with their Alaska counterpart in seeking suspensions of Sen. Ted Stevens' law licenses over his felony convictions for lying on Senate disclosure forms.
Dane Dauphine, supervising trial counsel for the State Bar of California, said he moved against Stevens' license two weeks ago after receiving official verdict documents from the Washington, D.C., court where Stevens was convicted Oct. 27.
The California State Bar Court, which will rule on the interim suspension, has not yet acted against Stevens, Dauphine said in a telephone interview from his office in Los Angeles.
The bar court is an administrative body under the jurisdiction of the California Supreme Court, Dauphine said.
In Washington, Gene Shipp, bar counsel to the D.C. Bar, said he plans to file by Friday a certified copy of Stevens' conviction with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, responsible for discipline among the 89,000 lawyers in Washington. That filing will likely result in the automatic, interim suspension of Stevens' license pending further proceedings, he said.
"We're going along with California and Alaska," Shipp said. "Steve's just faster off the mark than I am," he said, referring to Stephen Van Goor, the Alaska bar counsel.
The D.C. Court of Appeals functions like a state supreme court.
On Oct. 30, the Alaska Bar Association asked the Alaska Supreme Court to immediately impose an interim suspension of Stevens' license. When Stevens' attorney, Timothy McKeever, objected, the court gave him until Nov. 24 to prepare a defense.
McKeever said Wednesday he was unfamiliar with the actions in California and Washington. "I'll have to look into that," he said.
Stevens was admitted to the bars of California and the District of Columbia in 1951. He is on the inactive roster of attorneys in both jurisdictions as well as in Alaska, so any suspensions will have no practical effect. Though Stevens lost re-election and will be out of work in January, he has given no indication that at age 85 he wants to resume the law career he gave up when he entered the Senate 40 years ago.
Stevens is appealing his conviction. If the verdict is overturned, the bar officials said Stevens would be entitled to reinstatement. But for the purposes of licensing, the jury verdict, and not imposition of sentence or a formal order of conviction by the judge, is sufficient to require a suspension in all three jurisdictions, the officials said.
The trial judge in Stevens' case, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan, has not set a sentencing date pending resolution of Stevens' motion for a new trial.
Find Richard Mauer online at adn.com/contact/rmauer or call 257-4345.