Local attorney’s practice suspended
Grady Davis, a colorful and successful Chico criminal-defense attorney, has had his right to practice law suspended by the State Bar of California for the next three years beginning Jan. 10. He was also placed on five years’ probation and agreed to attend State Bar Ethics School.
Davis, who’s been a member of the State Bar since 1980, was suspended, according to the State Bar Court, for a series of cases that for the most part involved failure to adequately provide legal services.
The case that sparked the state hearing that culminated in disciplinary action was a kidnapping case in Butte County Superior Court in November 2000, when Davis told a witness for the prosecution outside the courtroom during a recess, “You’re toast, you’re history, you’re dead meat,” after the witness sarcastically told Davis to “have a nice lunch.”
Davis reported the incident to the court the same day, but Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey called for a hearing to show contempt. The court found Davis guilty and fined him $750.
Six other cases were added, dating back to 1997, and Davis was ordered to pay some of those clients back for the legal services they had hired him to provide. In addition, the documents say, Davis was disciplined in 1992 for failure to promptly return unearned fees, failure to deposit client funds into a trust account and failure to uphold laws.
At the time he was given a two-year suspension that was stayed and placed on two years’ probation.
Davis, 51, said he could not comment directly on his case because of the probation but did say the break was overall a good thing for him and his family.
“I’m going to be parenting,” Davis said when asked what he’d be doing during the next three years.
He said he’d be filing and helping his wife Tracy Tully-Davis, who is also his law partner and mother to his two elementary-school-aged daughters. He also said he’d be helping out at his daughters’ school.
Davis is an aggressive and effective defense attorney whose style, say other local attorneys, is to anger and fluster the prosecution. That approach did not win him any friends in the District Attorney’s Office.
Ramsey said at the time of the contempt trial that defense attorneys should be “ashamed of Mr. Davis’ behavior.”
He denied having a personal grudge against Davis. “I personally like Grady,” Ramsey said this week. “On a social level I’ve always gotten along with him. He’s a charming fellow.”
Ramsey also acknowledged Davis’s effectiveness as an attorney. “I think he’s got the gift of the Blarney Stone,” Ramsey said.
During his State Bar Court hearing, Davis’s attorney Ephraim Margolin produced 23 letters of support from attorneys and community leaders attesting to Davis’ good character.