On Wednesday, July 12, 2023, the Supreme Court of California issued a disciplinary order against attorney Victor Stephen Haltom for consistently missing court deadlines, neglecting to submit essential legal documents, and delivering unsatisfactory legal representation.
The case is entitled “In the matter of Victor Stephen Haltom”, and was bought by the State Bar of California with case no. S276074.
In a notice of disciplinary charges dated October 12, 2021, it was indicated that Haltom had been confronted with multiple charges concerning his legal practice. The charges encompassed instances of failure to perform competently, neglecting to communicate significant developments to clients, receiving fees from individuals not counted as clients, neglecting to provide an account of client funds, not reimbursing unearned fees, defying a court directive, non-cooperation in a State Bar investigation, engaging in moral turpitude through misrepresentation, conducting improper withdrawals, and neglecting to respond to client inquiries. The specific accusations against Haltom encompassed delayed submission of legal briefs for clients, acceptance of fees for services not delivered, failure to keep clients updated on the case progress, and disregard for court orders. Moreover, he was accused of evading cooperation with the State Bar’s investigation into his behavior.
The notice of disciplinary charges states:
“On or about July 13, 2017, Robert Pasillas employed respondent to perform legal services, namely, to represent Pasillas in connection with his appeal of a criminal conviction in People v. Pasillas, Shasta County Superior Court case number 16F5488 [Court of Appeal – Third Appellate District case no. C085011]. Thereafter, between or about August 15, 2017, and on or about August 21, 2018, the respondent intentionally, recklessly, or repeatedly failed to perform with competence, by failing to timely file an Appellant’s Opening Brief on behalf of Pasillas as ordered by the Court, despite multiple extensions granted by the Court, resulting in the dismissal of Pasillas’ appeal on or about August 31, 2018, in willful violation of former Rules of Professional Conduct, rule 3-110(A).”
The notice of disciplinary charges continues:
“On or about July 28, 2016, Jovan Felix, through his agents Claire Stone and Michelle Davis, employed respondent to perform legal services, namely, to represent him in his appeal of a criminal conviction in, People v. Felix, Sacramento County Superior Court case number 13F07431 [Court of Appeal – Third Appellate District case no. C079382], which respondent intentionally, recklessly, or repeatedly failed to perform with competence, in willful violation of Rules of Professional Conduct, rule 1.3(a), by failing to reserve oral argument on Felix’s behalf by on or about October 7, 2019, and unilaterally waiving his client’s right to an oral argument without consulting or obtaining the client’s consent.”
According to the court, the factual agreement presented substantiating information that upheld the claims against Victor Stephen Haltom pertained to three clients: Robert Pasillas, Jovan Felix, and Sean Mooney. In each instance, Haltom was charged with repeated instances of disregarding court deadlines, failing to submit crucial legal paperwork, and providing inadequate legal representation. As a result, his clients’ appeals suffered adverse effects, prompting them to lodge grievances with the State Bar of California.
Based on the aforementioned circumstances, the Supreme Court of California opted to suspend Haltom from practicing law for five years, with the execution of the suspension stayed, and placed on probation for three years. Haltom will be suspended from practicing law for a minimum of the first two years of probation and will remain suspended until certain requirements are satisfied.
The Disposition states:
“The court orders that Victor Stephen Haltom (Respondent), State Bar Number 155157, is suspended from the practice of law in California for five years, execution of that period of suspension is stayed, and Respondent is placed on probation for three years subject to following conditions.”
The court orders Haltom to satisfy certain conditions, including making restitution to three payees and furnishing proof of rehabilitation, fitness to practice, and present learning and ability in the general law.
Haltom must also comply with the other conditions of probation recommended by the Hearing Department of the State Bar Court in its decision filed on July 5, 2022. These conditions include taking and passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination and complying with California Rules of Court, rule 9.20.
Mr. Haltom practices in Sacramento, California. He is licensed in California with license no. 155157. His info can be found on lawyersjustia.com.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.