DUI Attorney Darryl Genis Faces Two-Year Suspension from State Bar

DUI Attorney Darryl Genis Faces Two-Year Suspension from State Bar title=
Darryl Genis | Credit: Paul Wellman (file)
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This story was originally published by the Santa Barbara Independent and is reproduced here in partnership with Edhat.


By Tyler Hayden of The Independent

A judge for the State Bar of California has recommended a two-year suspension for Darryl Wayne Genis, a flamboyant Santa Barbara DUI attorney who has a history of courting high-profile cases as often as he does headline-grabbing controversy. 

In her May 18 decision, Judge Cynthia Valenzuela cited two previous disciplinary actions against Genis ― a 30-day suspension for skipping scheduled hearings and “asking prohibited questions at trial,” and a 60-day suspension for surreptitiously rifling through papers on a prosecutor’s desk during a break in court proceedings, then “knowingly and intentionally misleading a judge” when confronted. 

The “multiple acts of wrongdoing” by Genis, who has openly antagonized judges and prosecutors with personally belittling comments and threatened journalists with legal action who report on his behavior, demonstrate “bad faith, substantial harm to the administration of justice, and indifference,” Valenzuela said.

But the biggest aggravating factor in her decision, Valenzuela explained, was the 24 months Genis recently spent behind bars at the Lompoc federal prison for willfully failing to pay $679,958 in taxes on $3.5 million of unreported earnings, a crime he blamed on a longtime gambling addiction and an alcoholic accountant who gave him bad financial advice. Genis was released in February 2019 and continues to practice law. Of the $679,958 in restitution he owes the IRS, Genis has so far paid $82,356.

Valenzuela said Genis’s eight years of tax-dodging “evinces an attitude that he is above the law and demonstrates that [his] misconduct was not aberrational.” During that period, she noted, Genis owned a 13-foot Boston Whaler boat, held a membership to an exclusive country club, and owned several Santa Barbara properties, including a $1 million Hollister Ranch parcel. 

The Office of Chief Trial Counsel of the State Bar had originally pushed for Genis to be permanently stripped of his license, but Valenzuela disagreed, noting his ongoing commitment to a 12-step recovery program and the 17 character witness statements she received on Genis’s behalf from fellow attorneys, former clients, friends, and a Sheriff’s deputy. They attested to his “exceptional legal abilities,” “dedication to his clients,” and “remorse for his actions.”

Nevertheless, Valenzuela argued, a hefty two-year suspension was appropriate to “protect the public and preserve public confidence in the profession.” She also recommended that Genis be placed on three years of probation, refamiliarize himself with the California Rules of Professional Conduct, and enroll in State Bar Ethics School.

David Clare, Genis’s attorney, said he and his client plan to appeal the decision, which they deemed “too harsh.” Clare said he hopes to reduce the suspension “substantially.” The appeals process may take up to a year and a half, Clare explained, during which time Genis will remain an active member of the State Bar with no restrictions on his right to practice law.

Genis himself requested that the Independent not report on Valenzuela’s recommendation, asking instead that the paper only cover the outcome of the appeal. “But if you don’t wait,” he said, “I hope you don’t write anything that gives the wrong impression of my availability or in any way taints my reputation prematurely because I don’t want to have to take legal action, but I’m not going to be a ‘victim’ of a hasty and reckless press organ.”

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edney May 28, 2021 09:58 AM
DUI Attorney Darryl Genis Faces Two-Year Suspension from State Bar

He should sue "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul" for stealing his life story.
I am kidding.
There are judges, police and prosecutors who stretch the rules and to be honest, I hold them to a higher standard. They also stretch facts to take advantage of the unsophisticated public and a prime example is the "13ft Boston Whaler".
The other items listed are prejudicial as well. How many attorneys have memberships at La Cumbre Country Club? How many own rental properties and land? How many dodged taxes yet were on CNN every night (Michael Avenatti)
What matters NOW about taxes is not what he did, but is he complying with the terms of his agreement? Can he pay off the remaining $600K debt to Uncle Sam if he can't work? (the linked article must be in error because it says Genis owed the IRS nearly $700K but doesn't mention the Franchise Tax Board, or the article combined the two) If there was a way to do it, I'd let him work on a very short lease until he pays off his bill.
Maybe the judge hates him so much she wants to put him out of work so the IRS will seize his used Boston Whaler, and auction off his lot to punish him, and if so, that is not her job because the IRS already gave Genis terms.

bosco May 27, 2021 03:11 PM
DUI Attorney Darryl Genis Faces Two-Year Suspension from State Bar

I had the pleasure of being on the jury for one his trials. The guy is a piece of work. The best part of the trial was watching the Prosecutor roll her eyes evetime he would speak. The trial was a complete waste of time and money and in the end... his defendant lost.

bicyclist May 27, 2021 01:02 PM
DUI Attorney Darryl Genis Faces Two-Year Suspension from State Bar

No idea what a 13-foot Boston Whaler was, but thanks to our bud google, I come to find my bikes are all more than double $ than said "dinghy". So then the rest of the sentence comes into question: "exclusive" is possibly just the free golf course; The $1mil parcel could just be a driveway...

Yeti May 27, 2021 12:15 PM
DUI Attorney Darryl Genis Faces Two-Year Suspension from State Bar

WOW, ONLY a 2 year suspension for an A-Hole like this?? They should permanently disbar him. End of story. They felt that it was appropriate to give him a two-year suspension " to protect the public and preserve public confidence in the profession.” It is obviously too late for this.
A confidence builder would be to remove him from the field. By his aggressive posturing with The Independent, it is clear that he will continue with his arrogant and evil ways.

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