Shattered Glass

In an opinion issued on January 27, the Supreme Court of California denied Stephen Randall Glass admission to the California State Bar. Glass is infamous for his two-year streak of dishonest journalism that ultimately resulted in more than forty wholly, or mostly, fabricated publications.

The opinion denying Glass’s admission cited to Rule 4.40(B) of the State Bar of California Title 4 Admissions and Educational Standards and explained that admission proceedings are concerned with “whether the applicant for admission is a fit and proper person to be permitted to practice law, and that usually turns upon whether he has committed or is likely to continue to commit acts of moral turpitude.” Furthermore, the Court found of “particular significance” that serious misconduct warrants a stronger showing of rehabilitation.

Glass admitted at his admission hearing that “all but a handful” of his forty-two published articles contained fabrications or were entirely fabricated. He even went so far as to fabricate background materials “to dupe the fact checkers assigned to vet his work.” According to the opinion, Glass created “a phony Web site, phony business cards, and even recruited his own brother to pose as a source.”

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Furthermore, when given the opportunity, Glass failed to correct his misrepresentations. For example, he omitted his misrepresentations on his New York State Bar application. New York ultimately denied his application for admission. It was not until the California State Bar began its investigation that Glass finally identified fabrications that he had previously denied or failed to disclose. Glass attempted to show rehabilitation by attending therapy for his need to impress others, writing a therapeutic book about his endeavors, and going on 60 Minutes to offer a public apology. The California Supreme Court was not satisfied and described Glass’s conduct as a “multi-layered, complex, and harmful course of public dishonesty.” The Court further explained, “If Glass were to fabricate evidence in legal matters as readily and effectively as he falsified material for magazine articles, the harm to the public and profession would be immeasurable.” For further information on Glass’s situation, click here.

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