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For an attorney deemed ineligible to practice law for three months last year, Santa Clara County Deputy DA Steven Moore sure didn’t act like it. He even got a guilty verdict in a sex offense case when he wasn’t supposed to be prosecuting at all. Moore, who was temporarily suspended from the State Bar of California from Sept. 18 until Dec. 28 for failing to pay membership fees, never stopped handling sexual assault cases. Now, Moore faces not only investigations from the State Bar and his own office, but the specter of legal challenges from opposing defense attorneys during that three-month period. Unauthorized practice of law can also be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, said attorney Jerome Fishkin, referring to Business and Professions Code � 6126. Any such action would be undertaken by the state attorney general’s office, though those prosecutions are unusual, added Fishkin, of Walnut Creek’s Fishkin & Slatter, who specializes in attorney-conduct matters. Moore could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Acting Chief Assistant Marc Buller sent out notices to at least a couple of dozen defense attorneys who represented clients in cases upon which Moore acted. On Wednesday, Buller said he had not heard of any defense attorneys making motions for rehearings in those cases. Given the unusual circumstances, though, it could be just a matter of time. Steven Clark, a San Jose criminal defense attorney, tried a felony case against Moore in September, the only jury trial Moore prosecuted during the three-month period. Defendant Dale Anderson � who was charged with two counts of a lewd or lascivious act against a child � has already been sentenced, according to the criminal court clerk’s office. “I just find the whole thing extremely disturbing,” Clark said. “Here’s a guy prosecuting my client that shouldn’t even be in the courtroom.” Clark received his notification letter on Tuesday and said Wednesday he was still evaluating his options. The salary for a job like Moore’s falls between $5,746 and $7,152 every two weeks, according to the DA’s office. He attended McGeorge School of Law at University of the Pacific, was admitted to the bar in 1996, and has been working at the DA’s office since January 2006. This isn’t the first time Moore failed to pay his bar membership fees. He was suspended for one day in 2004 for the same reason, according to the State Bar’s Web site. Assistant DA David Tomkins pointed out that the county pays State Bar membership fees for county employees, so Moore could’ve simply forgotten to send his bill to the county. “He just was spacing out,” Tomkins said. Defense attorneys looking for rehearings or conviction reversals may not get a free pass, however. “The court has the discretion but not the mandate to reverse any actions it took during the time he was under suspension,” Fishkin said. Defense attorneys would have to show some kind of prejudice against the defendants. So if, for example, a judge had relied on the status of the prosecutor somehow to make a decision, said Santa Clara University School of Law Professor Gerald Uelmen, then it would merit reconsideration. “It’s hard to imagine a scenario where it would make a difference in the outcome, but you never know,” Uelmen said.

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