An attorney whose license was suspended after his 1992 conviction for possession of LSD must turn over his current legal files to the California State Bar, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Prosecutors say they intend to file criminal charges against Douglas A. Palaschak, 43, for practicing law without a license, but they will wait until the State Bar is finished with his files.
“Our main concern is we don’t want the clients he’s representing to be harmed in any way,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Kevin G. DeNoce said. “Things need to be done on those cases.”
DeNoce said that as many as 20 case files were seized when Palaschak was arrested Friday at a Camarillo motel on suspicion of filing bankruptcy petitions on behalf of clients.
Palaschak said Wednesday he is licensed to practice in federal court and his suspension applies only to state court, a claim disputed by prosecutors. He said his arrest was designed “to protect the State Bar’s turf and punish me for taking LSD.”
Palaschak was sentenced to 90 days in jail, three years probation and a drug-treatment program after he was convicted last year of LSD possession. The State Bar suspended Palaschak’s law license after the felony conviction.
The district attorney’s office began investigating Palaschak after getting a tip from a potential client who became suspicious that a motel room was being used as a law office.
DeNoce said criminal charges against Palaschak could be filed as early as next week. He said prosecutors are not allowed to look at Palaschak’s client files because of confidentiality rules, but they hope to obtain waivers from the clients so the files can be used as evidence in the criminal case.