Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
A former Carlsbad attorney has been disbarred in California, one week after a judge in a downtown San Diego courtroom found him “competent” and then accepted his guilty plea in a pending case.
Michael Theodore Pines, now 60 years old, has been in and out of custody and courtrooms and mental competency hearings in San Diego County for more than a year.
Judge Lisa Foster found “that the defendant is competent and re-instates criminal proceedings” and then accepted his admission that he “unlawfully resisted a peace office in the discharge of his duties” as a misdemeanor. The resisting-officer offense is dated October 27, 2011. The judge immediately sentenced Michael Theodore Pines to time already served, the same day she accepted Pines’ plea deal, on June 4, 2012.
There is a list of conditions attached to the plea deal. Michael Theodore Pines promised to obey restraining orders which protect four different, named persons, and this period of protection was extended to three years, until June 2015.
Pines agreed not to file any more civil actions and to withdraw from those civil actions he has already filed.
Michael Theodore Pines is free on his own recognizance, and is expected to complete 3 years at liberty without committing “same or similar” offenses, at the finish of which one felony charge of making criminal threat while out on bail is to be dismissed. He listed an address in Oceanside as his home.
As part of the plea deal, Michael Theodore Pines agreed not to contest his disbarment.
The State Bar of California filed a statement two weeks ago, finding that the “respondent” threatened the new owner of his client’s former property and violated restraining orders and trespassed and made criminal threats. The State Bar declared Michael Theodore Pines “grossly negligent,” finding that he failed to perform legal services with competence because he advised clients they had a legal right to possess certain property and even assisted his clients in breaking into their former residence.
Technically, Pines is to be “involuntarily enrolled as an inactive member” or disbarred, effective three days from the State Bar’s filing June 11, 2012. Michael Theodore Pines has been practicing law in California since 1977, when he was 25, according to the state bar’s website.
As part of his plea deal, Michael Theodore Pines agreed to continue mental health treatment with Kaiser Permanente.
Editor's note: There are 2 attorneys named Michael Pines, the other is a personal injury attorney in La Jolla.