This afternoon I sent a letter to the San Francisco County Grand Jury requesting a criminal investigation of Cydney Batchelor, a senior prosecutor for the State Bar of California. In my May 9, 2016 post, I explained that Ms. Batchelor had withheld exculpatory evidence in a disbarment proceeding against my former client, Wade Robertson.
In her response to the state bar court, Ms. Batchelor only made herself look worse. A lot worse. In a sworn declaration, she admitted that she obtained exculpatory evidence from attorney Jason Yearout, and she admitted that she may have told him that he “should forget the phone call ever happened.” Her defense? She claims that Mr. Yearout just misunderstood what she really meant.
Yeah, sure he did. The fact remains that Ms. Batchelor never disclosed the exculpatory evidence to Mr. Robertson or the state bar court, as she was legally obligated to do. In California, a prosecutor’s willful failure to disclose exculpatory evidence is a crime, and Ms. Batchelor is not just any ordinary prosecutor. She chaired the state bar’s task force on prosecutorial misconduct, and she has personally sought and obtained the suspensions or disbarments of other prosecutors who withheld exculpatory evidence.
In her declaration, Ms. Batchelor claimed that she “assumed” that Mr. Yearout would convey the exculpatory evidence to Mr. Robertson, as if that absolved her of her legal duty to notify the court, but that excuse is not even plausible. The state bar has alleged that Mr. Robertson took $3.5 million from William C. Cartinhour, Jr. for purposes of funding litigation in New York, but that Mr. Robertson never used the money for the litigation. During the state bar trial, prosecutors touted a letter from Gusty Yearout, the father and law partner of Jason Yearout, wherein the senior Mr. Yearout assured another lawyer that his firm had not received any of the $3.5 million. Gusty Yearout was trying to convince Mr. Cartinhour’s lawyers not to sue his firm along with Mr. Robertson.
Given that context, it is preposterous for Ms. Batchelor to suggest that she thought the Yearout firm would voluntarily notify Mr. Robertson that it had done an about-face and was now admitting that it had received some of the $3.5 million to cover litigation expenses. Even if she actually believed something so outlandish, why wouldn’t she just notify the court and Mr. Robertson that she had discovered the exculpatory evidence, as she was legally obligated to do? And why wouldn’t she admit that the earlier letter from Gusty Yearout – which she had been touting as evidence against Mr. Robertson – had now been discredited? Because she is trying to railroad Mr. Robertson. There is no other explanation.
Meanwhile, the state bar is sticking its head in the sand, trying to ignore the fact that it has a corrupt prosecutor on its payroll. Even though I informed the bar trustees on May 9, 2016 about Ms. Batchelor’s misconduct, they have not removed Ms. Batchelor from the case against Mr. Robertson, much less fired or suspended her. In a letter to the bar trustees this morning, I renewed my request for appointment of a special counsel to investigate and/or prosecute Ms. Batchelor. If they think they can sweep this under the rug, they’re in for a big surprise.