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Suspensions/Probation
  1. JOHN ALBERT BALENT
  2. GREGORY MOLINA BURKE
  3. TERENCE WYNN ISOBE
  4. CYNTHIA S. HERNANDEZ
  5. GEORGE HARVEY BYE
  6. STEPHEN JOHN COGHLAN
  7. STEVEN RANDALL CUMMINGS
  8. SHAHAB EDDIN FOTOUHI
  9. FRANK EDWARD GOSECO
  10. CONNIE LEE YOUNGER
  11. MICHAEL R. CARVER
  12. JOHN CHRISTEN TORJESEN
  13. JOSE ANGEL TREJO
  14. MICHELLE YVONNE WINSPUR
  15. RAYEHE MAZAREI
  16. ANN RUBENSTEIN

JOHN ALBERT BALENT [#70060], 65, of Brea, was suspended from the practice of law for 60 days and ordered to take the MPRE. He was also placed on two years’ probation and faces a two-year suspension if he does not comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation. The order took effect April 2, 2015.

Balent stipulated that on three occasions in 2012 he commingled personal funds in his client trust account. In mitigation, he entered into a prefiling stipulation with the State Bar, there was no harm to his clients and he is heavily involved in charitable work.

He had one prior record of discipline, a 2001 public reproval for failure to maintain respect due to courts.

GREGORY MOLINA BURKE [#188891], 48, of Newport Beach, was suspended from the practice of law for nine months and until he pays sanctions. He was also ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. In addition, he was placed on two years’ probation and faces a two-year suspension if he does not comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation. The order took effect April 2, 2015.

A State Bar Court hearing judge initially found Burke culpable of seven counts of misconduct and recommended a two-year actual suspension. On appeal, the Review Department agreed with all but one of the judge’s culpability findings, but found Burke had not been dishonest and recommended a shorter suspension.

In one matter Burke practiced law while suspended, performing various legal services for a client he had agreed to defend against an insurance company’s cross complaint for civil fraud. The Review Department also found Burke committed an act involving moral turpitude because he knowingly provided legal services to the client while he was on suspension.

In another matter, Burke disobeyed a judge’s two sanction orders. At the time of his disciplinary trial, he had not paid sanctions for two and a half years.

In a third matter, Burke committed an act involving moral turpitude by concealing his suspension from opposing counsel and engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by sending a motion for summary judgment to the lawyer and an arbitrator during his suspension. During that time, he also sent an email to a witness identifying himself as “Esq.” In addition, he misrepresented in an Oct. 11, 2011 quarterly report to probation that he did not practice law while suspended.

He was ordered to pay $1,615 in sanctions. In mitigation, Burke cooperated with the State Bar by stipulating to certain facts before trial.

Burke’s prior suspension, in August 2011, was for commingling funds in his client trust account and using the account to pay personal expenses.

TERENCE WYNN ISOBE [#154933], 60, of San Francisco, was suspended from the practice of law for 30 days and ordered to take the MPRE. He was also placed on two years’ probation and faces a two-year suspension if he does not comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation. The order took effect April 2, 2015.

In January 2009, a couple hired Isobe to handle the probate of their son’s estate. The couple’s niece was appointed administrator. Later that year, Isobe, as a licensed real estate broker, entered into a contract with the niece to sell the deceased’s condominium. Isobe did not tell the couple or their niece that they could seek the advice of independent counsel before entering into the agreement for his real estate services.

In addition, Isobe stopped communicating with the niece despite her numerous attempts to get him to close the probate case. He only did so after entering into an agreement in lieu of discipline with the State Bar more than a year and a half after her last communication with him.

Isobe also did not comply with the terms of an agreement in lieu of discipline by not submitting any of his quarterly reports for one year or the final report on time. He also did not submit proof of attending Ethics School by deadline.

In mitigation, he had no prior record of discipline in 17 years of practicing law and was suffering from extreme pain and stress at the time of his misconduct. He received some mitigation for volunteer service.

CYNTHIA S. HERNANDEZ [#133915], 58, of Vineburg, was suspended from the practice of law for 30 days and ordered to take the MPRE. She was also placed on two years’ probation and faces a one-year suspension if she does not comply with the terms of her disciplinary probation. The order took effect April 10, 2015.

A State Bar Court hearing judge found Hernandez failed to competently perform, disobeyed court orders and did not release a client’s file on time. Hernandez appealed but the Review Department upheld the hearing judge’s culpability findings and adopted the recommended discipline.

In 2010, Hernandez was hired to represent a client in a personal injury and property damages claim against the client’s contractor. Hernandez misspelled the contractor’s name in the complaint, and the court refused to issue the summons. Hernandez never corrected her mistake and, as a result, could not obtain a properly issued summons for service upon the contractor. After Hernandez missed the deadline for filing proof of service, the court issued an order to show cause to explain why sanctions should not be imposed. She did not file it and did not appear at three hearings regarding the matter. She was ordered to pay $350 in sanctions but did not do so for a year – after a complaint was made against her. She also did not move to dismiss the case even though her client requested it.

Despite being fired by her client, Hernandez did not return the client’s file until directed to do so by a State Bar investigator.

In mitigation, Hernandez does pro bono work. She also received some credit for submitting evidence of her good character.

She had one prior record of discipline. In 1994, she was privately reproved after stipulating that she violated a court order and failed to maintain respect due to the court in a family law matter. In a second matter, she did not perform competently when she failed to communicate with a client or file a client’s personal injury lawsuit within the statute of limitations.

GEORGE HARVEY BYE [#56666], 79, of San Diego, was placed on one year of probation and faces a one-year suspension if he does not comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation. He was also ordered to take the MPRE and pay restitution. The order took effect April 2, 2015.

In 2011, Bye was hired to help two homeowners try to regain title to their home and to file a bankruptcy petition for one of the homeowners. The home had already been foreclosed upon and sold at a trustee’s sale. Bye did not serve the summons and complaint on the lender in the clients’ civil matter and failed to appear at an order to show cause hearing, leading the court to dismiss the lawsuit.

In addition, Bye did not pay all the filing fees in the bankruptcy matter, leading the bankruptcy court to dismiss it.

Bye was ordered to pay $5,000 plus interest in restitution. In mitigation, he had no prior record of discipline and entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar.

STEPHEN JOHN COGHLAN [#203376], 61, of San Francisco, was placed on two years’ probation and faces a one-year suspension if he does not comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation. The order took effect April 2, 2015.

Coghlan’s discipline arises from the fact that in October 2013 he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence, a misdemeanor. In 2012, Coghlan was arrested following a disturbance at his home. A woman who called 911 told authorities Coghlan had been drinking. He was arrested after he was pulled over a short distance from his home.

In mitigation, he entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar.

Coghlan had one prior record of discipline. In 2005, he received a private reproval for two separate convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol.

STEVEN RANDALL CUMMINGS [#150518], 63, of Fresno, was suspended from the practice of law for six months and ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. He was also placed on two years’ probation and faces a two-year suspension if he does not comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation. The order took effect April 18, 2015.

Cummings stipulated that between June 3 and Dec. 31, 2013, he used his client trust account as his personal bank account, depositing and hiding his personal funds there. During that time period he issued, or caused to be issued from his trust account: 24 electronic withdrawals, totaling $13,290; eight personal payroll deposits for services, totaling $13,143; and 64 checks, totaling $47,282. In all, there were 96 separate transactions from the account for personal expenses.

In addition, Cummings repeatedly overdrew his trust account knowing it had insufficient funds and failed to cooperate with a State Bar investigation by not responding to letters from a State Bar investigator.

In mitigation, he entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar.

Cummings had one prior record of discipline, a 2005 public reproval for failures to perform legal services with competence, respond to reasonable status inquiries from a client, properly withdraw from his client’s case and cooperate with a State Bar investigation.

SHAHAB EDDIN FOTOUHI [#168301], 47, of San Francisco, was suspended from the practice of law for six months and ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. He was also placed on three years’ probation and faces a two-year suspension if he does not comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation. The order took effect April 18, 2015.

Fotouhi stipulated to the circumstances surrounding his March 2014 conviction for felony stalking. In October 2012, Fotouhi’s wife filed for divorce, and the dissolution and custody proceedings became very contentious. From November 2012 through December 2013, he sent his wife 617 text messages and 149 emails, many in violation of restraining orders.

In mitigation, Fotouhi presented evidence of his good character, had no prior record of discipline, entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar, has done significant community service and was suffering extreme difficulties in his personal life at the time of his misconduct.

FRANK EDWARD GOSECO [#132732], 55, of Surfside, was suspended from the practice of law for six months and ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. He was also placed on four years’ probation and faces a two-year suspension if he does not comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation. The order took effect April 18, 2015.

Goseco’s suspension arises from three convictions: the first for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher with a prior DUI; the second for aggravated trespass; and a third for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or more with a prior DUI and hit and run with property damage.

The earliest criminal case was a hit and run Goseco committed in Irvine on Sept. 30, 2008. Although Goseco left the scene of the accident, the victim was able to give officers a description of his car and its license plate number, and police spotted the vehicle near Goseco’s home a few days later. Goseco attempted to evade officers, but eventually stopped Goseco. As he got out of his car in his driveway, they determined he was under the influence of alcohol.

In the second case, Goseco broke into a stranger’s apartment early the morning of Oct. 5, 2008, after somehow obtaining a key. The resident called police after finding Goseco eating salami he’d taken out of the refrigerator. Officers encountered him outside in the apartment complex and determined he’d been drinking.

Goseco was also arrested on Nov. 19, 2013 after a traffic accident. Goseco jogged away from the scene barefoot and was later found at his home, injured and with bloodstains on his clothing.

In mitigation, Goseco had no prior record of discipline and entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar.

CONNIE LEE YOUNGER [#224357], 61, Riverside, was suspended from the practice of law for one year and until she makes restitution. She was also ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. In addition, she was placed on two years’ probation and faces a two-year suspension if she does not comply with the terms of her disciplinary probation. The order took effect April 18, 2015.

A State Bar Court hearing judge found that Younger failed to promptly pay $5,000 in settlement funds to a client and misappropriated the money because she felt she was owed for uncompensated work she had done on an earlier case for the client. She was ordered to pay $5,000 plus interest in restitution.

In mitigation, Younger had no prior record of discipline, presented evidence of her good character and was suffering extreme emotional difficulties at the time of her misconduct.

MICHAEL R. CARVER [#203925], 52, of Tustin, was suspended from the practice of law for 90 days and ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. Carver was also placed on two years’ probation and faces a two-year suspension if he does not comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation. The order took effect April 19, 2015.

Carver failed to comply with the conditions of a public reproval and did not respond to a notice of disciplinary charges alleging his non-compliance. As a result, a State Bar Court hearing judge entered Carver’s default and the State Bar moved to disbar him. Carver convinced the judge to set aside the default and hold a hearing. After Carver appealed, the Review Department upheld the judge’s findings regarding culpability, mitigation and all but one factor in aggravation, recommending a shorter suspension.

The underlying public reproval stemmed from Carver’s conviction for driving without a license and resisting an officer.

JOHN CHRISTEN TORJESEN [#141664], 62, of Los Angeles, was suspended from the practice of law for 30 days and ordered to take the MPRE. He was also placed on two years’ probation and faces a one-year suspension if he does not comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation. The order took effect April 19, 2015.

Torjesen stipulated that in 2013 he practiced law in three matters without confirming that his license to practice law had been reinstated after an administrative suspension.

In one matter, Torjesen was representing a client in a civil action and signed and filed notices of ruling and appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of his client when his license was suspended. In another matter, he represented a woman in her divorce trial while suspended, which led the judge to order a mistrial. In the third, he wrote a letter to opposing counsel which included a legal analysis of damages and appeared at a deposition in the matter while suspended. He also failed to meet a deadline for reporting $2,000 in sanctions to the State Bar.

In mitigation, Torjesen presented evidence of his good character, entered into a prefiling stipulation with the State Bar and held the “honest and reasonable belief that when he acted to rectify his administrative suspension he would be immediately returned to active status.”

Torjesen had one prior record of discipline, a 2013 private reproval for failing to tell one client his case had been dismissed and failing to provide an appropriate accounting of funds he was holding on behalf of another client.

JOSE ANGEL TREJO [#262612], 33, of Los Angeles, was suspended from the practice of law for 60 days. He was also placed on three years’ probation and faces a one-year suspension if he does not comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation. The order took effect April 19, 2015.

Trejo stipulated to the circumstances surrounding his Feb. 7, 2014 conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater causing injury, a felony. On July 10, 2013, while driving drunk, Trejo rear-ended a car stopped in a left-turn lane. He did not stop at the crash scene and drove home.

When investigating officers went to Trejo’s home – using the license plate that had fallen off his car – they found him inspecting the damage to his vehicle. He quickly covered the front end with a car cover. He told officers he had hit something but did not know what because he had been suffering from a migraine headache that blurred his vision. Suspecting he had been drinking, the officers had him perform a field sobriety test. After failing the one-leg stand, Trejo cried out, pretending as though his knees were in pain. Though he refused to do a Breathalyzer, Trejo provided a blood sample and was found to have a blood alcohol level of .15.

In mitigation, Trejo showed remorse for his wrongdoing and entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar.

Trejo had one prior record of discipline, a September 2013 private reproval for failing to supervise his non-attorney employee and charging upfront fees for loan modification work.

MICHELLE YVONNE WINSPUR [#200520], 49, of Visalia, was suspended from the practice of law for 60 days and ordered to take the MPRE. She was also placed on two years’ probation and faces a one-year suspension if she does not comply with the terms of her disciplinary probation. The order took effect April 23, 2015.

Winspur was suspended following her successful completion of the Alternative Discipline Program. Winspur failed to provide her client with effective assistance of counsel and committed an act involving moral turpitude by appearing in court impaired by alcohol, failing to maintain the due respect of the court and making false and misleading statements to the State Bar.

In October 2011, Winspur also pleaded no contest to driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater.

In mitigation, Winspur had no prior record of discipline, showed candor and cooperated with the State Bar, showed remorse and successfully completed the Alternative Discipline Program.  

RAYEHE MAZAREI [#155873], 49, of Oceanside, was suspended from the practice of law for one year and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. She was also placed on three years’ probation and faces a two-year suspension if she does not comply with the terms of her disciplinary probation. The order took effect April 26, 2015.

Mazarei stipulated that she did not comply with the terms of her disciplinary probation because she failed to submit three quarterly reports to probation by their due dates, failed to submit compliant quarterly reports and did not contact and meet with her assigned probation deputy within 30 days of the effective date of her discipline.

In mitigation, Mazarei entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar.

She had two prior records of discipline. In 2003, she was suspended for failing to perform legal services with competence and adequately supervise her staff. In 2013, she was suspended a second time for moral turpitude. She agreed to represent a client in an immigration matter when she knew there was no way to withdraw the client’s application for naturalization and misrepresented that his application for naturalization had been withdrawn and that a Freedom of Information Act request had been submitted.

ANN RUBENSTEIN [#86334], 71, of Norco, was suspended from the practice of law for 30 days and ordered to take the MPRE. She was also placed on one year of probation and faces a one-year suspension if she does not comply with the terms of her disciplinary probation. The order took effect April 26, 2015.

Rubenstein stipulated that she stated under penalty of perjury to the State Bar that she had met all of her MCLE requirements during the compliance period when she hadn’t. She completed the necessary hours after learning the State Bar was doing an MCLE audit.

In mitigation, she had no prior record of discipline, entered into a prefiling stipulation with the State Bar and has done pro bono work.

. Caution!  More than 200,000 attorneys are eligible to practice law in California. Many attorneys share the same names. All discipline reports are taken from State Bar Court documents and should be read carefully for names, ages, addresses and bar numbers. Read the Discipline Key for an explanation of the different levels of disciplinary action. Use Attorney Search to check an attorney's official bar membership record.