Gary D. Grant Stripped of Law License by State Supreme Court Over Child Porn Viewing

Categories: Court, Crime-iny

The California Supreme Court decided unanimously last week to disbar an Aliso Viejo lawyer who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.

Gary D. Grant, a civil litigator who has been practicing law since 1994, should be stripped of his license to practice law because he accepted a plea bargain in which he admitted knowingly possessing pornographic images of minors, the state's high court said Thursday.

"Grant pleaded guilty to the felony of knowingly possessing child pornography," Justice Carol A. Corrigan wrote for the court. "His guilty plea establishes those facts as a matter of law. The only question here is whether that crime, as admitted by him, constitutes moral turpitude per se. It does."

Despite his State Bar having once advocated suspension rather than disbarment for Grant, Executive Director Joe Dunn said, "Today's decision recognizes that belonging to the legal profession is a privilege and not a right. The bar's ability to hold attorneys to the highest standards is critical in maintaining the integrity of the profession."

Grant said he had an addiction to adult pornography, which he viewed on the Internet, but that he found child porn repellent and that when he inadvertently received images via email involving girls under the age of 16, he immediately deleted them.

He was arrested as a result of a federal investigation that tracked child-porn sites, and Grant claims he pleaded guilty as part of a court deal because he and his attorney believed that viewing even a fleeting image of unsolicited child pornography violated the law.

In an email response to City News Service, Grant wrote he regretted taking the plea deal.

"Never in a million years would I ever have thought I would be charged with this type of crime, and I only pled to the crime because my attorney advised that Orange County is the most conservative county in California (if not the country) and that any case involving this subject matter would likely lead to a conviction because of the stigma attached to it. In retrospect, I should have taken it to trial."

He added his family and friends "are crushed by the news, and the legal team that has participated in this long road is dumbfounded. I loved the practice of law, and worked hard to provide the best representation possible for my clients. I think the bar will be losing a valued and respected lawyer."

Email: Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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