The State Bar of California will not assume jurisdiction over the law practice of Modesto defense attorney Frank Carson, who is accused of murder in a Turlock man’s death.
On Aug. 20, the State Bar filed an application in civil court to take over Carson’s law practice while he remained incarcerated. The prominent attorney has been held in Stanislaus County jail since his Aug. 14 arrest in the death of Korey Kauffman.
Had the court granted the application, the State Bar would notify all clients it took over the practice, advise them to obtain new attorneys and file necessary motions on their behalf.
On Friday, Judge Frank Dougherty denied the State Bar’s application, according to a filed minute order. The court determined Carson had taken adequate steps to protect the interests of his clients by hiring other attorneys to represent them while he is behind bars.
Carson is accused of having been the ringleader in a murder conspiracy. Authorities claim Carson recruited a group of people to send a violent message to those stealing antiques and scrap metal from his 5-acre Turlock property, which resulted in Kauffman’s death.
State Bar prosecutor Robert Henderson had argued that Carson is incapable of devoting the necessary time and quality service to protect his clients’ interests. He said Carson’s clients could be harmed if action isn’t taken. At the time of his arrest, Carson was representing 71 people in Stanislaus County.
Carson’s attorneys had informed the court that a large majority of his clients had already agreed to be represented by other attorneys hired by Carson. Kathleen Ewins, who represents Carson in the civil court matter, told the judge Friday that only two clients have not been able to be reached, and Carson will formally withdraw from those cases the next time the defendants appear in court.
Henderson had suggested that the State Bar’s concerns would be satisfied with the steps Carson has taken to protect his clients, according to the status report filed by Carson’s attorneys Sept. 14.
At the conclusion of Friday’s hearing, Dougherty, a visiting judge from Merced County assigned to handle the civil action, complimented all counsel for their handling of the matter.