The State Bar of California disbarred a Paso Robles-area attorney after determining that he committed “acts of moral turpitude,” including threatening opposing counsel’s clients with criminal charges.
Dale Irving Gustin was officially disbarred Oct. 5, after more than a year of being ineligible to practice law in California. Gustin, who as a candidate for San Luis Obispo County District 1 supervisor was arrested in May last year for refusing to leave a radio station, did not appear for his September 2016 disbarment trial because he was “adamant that he had tendered his resignation and therefore the court did not have jurisdiction over him,” the state bar said in its ruling.
Disbarment is an administrative, not criminal, sanction.
The California Supreme Court — which oversees the state bar — found that Gustin willfully failed to obey a court order following a May 2014 hearing. It further found Gustin guilty of “threatening to present criminal charges, specifically forgery and/or perjury” to force a defendant into a $450,000 settlement.
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The court also found that Gustin filed pleadings and made appearances on behalf of clients between July 2014 and January 2015, when he was not an active member of the state bar. The bar said Gustin was “grossly negligent” when he told the court in a filing that he had performed “no legal work for any of his clients that had pending cases in which he was the attorney of record or for any other persons” as of June 2014.
Gustin first began practicing law in December 1977, according to the state bar. He had been suspended from practicing the law several times prior to his disbarment.