Local News in Brief : Woodland Hills Lawyer Who Was Suspended to Stand Trial

A former Woodland Hills lawyer suspended by the California State Bar has been ordered to stand trial on charges of falsely representing himself as a licensed attorney and petty theft.

If convicted, Richard Charles Hepps could face a six-month jail term and a $1,000 fine on each count, San Fernando Municipal Court Judge Michael S. Luros said.

Hepps, 48, aroused the suspicion of Municipal Court Judge Charles L. Peven Feb. 18 after Hepps allegedly told the court that he was a licensed attorney representing a client in an arraignment. Peven recalled that Hepps was under a suspension and requested an investigation that led to Hepps' arrest.

The petty theft charge involves a $300 legal fee that Hepps allegedly obtained by representing himself as a licensed attorney.

The California Supreme Court and state bar suspended his license in 1982 after he was convicted in Los Angeles Superior Court of one count of conspiracy to sell cocaine. The Supreme Court also issued an order last Oct. 15 saying that he had failed to comply with a requirement that he pass the "professional responsibility examination," an ethics test for lawyers. The suspension is effective until Aug. 29, according to court documents.

Hepps told police that his 1982 suspension was for two years but that he has been unsuccessful in clearing up the misunderstanding with the bar, according to court documents.

Hepps also admitted representing another client in a criminal case and a friend in a divorce case while under suspension, the court documents say.

The arrest report says Hepps told investigators, "I'm hungry and need the money."

His trial is scheduled for May 19.

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