Trial halted as Kartoon defence attorney arrested after warrant discovery

That's why you're the 'judge' and I'm the 'law-talking' guy

The trial of a man accused of fraudulently purchasing more than 150 fondleslabs was halted in San Francisco Bay's Redwood City last week when the judge learned that the defence attorney had not only an inactive law licence, but also a warrant for his arrest on drug and theft charges.

SFGate reports that the attorney — 48-year old Deron Kartoon — joined his client, Jesus Binay Morales, in the Mateo County Jail, though quickly posted the $15,000 bail.

He acknowledged last Thursday that he is facing methamphetamine, identity theft and numerous other charges in both San Mateo and Marin counties, according to SFGate.

While he said his drug issues "are being handled", he denied committing any crimes. "I expect to be exonerated fully on everything," he said.

His former client was unable to meet his $500,000 bail, and has been assigned a new lawyer.

Kartoon reportedly told SFGate that future clients shouldn’t shy away from him. "No, absolutely I think I’m competent, and when I get my head screwed on, I don’t think there’s another attorney that can outwork me," he said. "There’s going to be smarter lawyers out there, but no one’s going to work harder than I will."

The issues were discovered when prosecutors, trying to contact him, learned from the California State Bar website that he was on inactive status and thus ineligible to practise law. Authorities have said that when Kartoon last appeared in his former client's case, his licence was active.

Kartoon claims he had voluntarily placed himself on inactive status earlier this month and went to court on Tuesday not as a lawyer, but only as a "witness" to ensure that his former client got another attorney.

According to SFGate, the authorities also learned that Kartoon had a bench warrant for his arrest stemming from his failure to appear in court on May 11 on misdemeanour charges of commercial burglary, fraudulent use of a credit card, attempted grand theft and possession of a methamphetamine pipe.

SFGate reported: "Kartoon has been suspended numerous times by the State Bar for failing to pay his membership fees and has admitted to a drug abuse problem, records show. The attorney has also appeared in court on behalf of other clients while under suspension, authorities said." ®

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