CALIFORNIA STATE BAR – LAWYER DISBARRED FOR PLANTING DRUGS
A Southern California attorney was disbarred after he was found guilty of false imprisonment for planting drugs in the car of a PTA volunteer and enlisting the police, based on fraud and deceit, to detain her. His disbarment — and, earlier, that of his attorney wife for the same offense — demonstrate that a felony conviction, the fact and circumstances of which involve moral turpitude, can lead to an attorney’s ouster from the profession even where unrelated to the practice of law.
Kent Wycliffe Easter [#199838], 43, of Newport Beach, was disbarred July 23, 2017, and ordered to notify his clients of the discipline and perform other obligations under rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The disbarment followed his conviction by an Orange County Superior Court jury on a charge of false imprisonment by violence, fraud or deceit, an act involving moral turpitude. The court case followed an incident in 2011 in which Easter and his wife planted drugs in the car of a school PTA volunteer, Kelli Peters, whom they accused of mistreating their son. Kent Easter stipulated that following the couple’s unsuccessful campaign to have Peters removed as an after school volunteer for having allegedly failed to properly supervise their six-year-old, Easter and his wife, Jill Easter, filed a civil suit against Peters and filed for a temporary restraining order against her. They eventually called police using an assumed name and reported seeing Peters with drugs in her car and driving erratically. Police found pills, marijuana and a marijuana pipe in Peters’ car. They detained Peters and questioned her for nearly two hours in the school parking lot visible to everyone. The Easters were arrested and convicted after Kent Easter’s DNA was found on one set of the pills and the marijuana pipe and it was determined the Easters had planted the drugs and the pipe, and they did not belong to Peters. Despite Peters’ exoneration, the Easters’ actions took a serious emotional toll on her. Jill Easter was summarily disbarred in 2014. Kent Easter was placed on interim suspension shortly after his conviction. In aggravation, Kent Easter’s actions significantly harmed the victim. In mitigation, he had 13 discipline-free years of practice.
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