State Bar Recommends Suspension for Public Defender Who Snuck Out of Bathroom On Judge

A Los Angeles County deputy public defender who left her client hanging just as he was going on trial for child molestation charges could face a 30-day suspension from the job. The California State Bar issued the recommendation, saying Delia Metoyer’s “abandonment” of her client “casts a pall of doubt” over whether he “was fairly served by the system.”

State Bar Court of California Judge Donald F. Miles wrote the opinion in this case and the details are truly bizarre.

According to Miles, Metoyer was suffering back pain at the time of the incident. She had an MRI appointment scheduled for the day after her client’s trail was set to begin, but allegedly failed to notify anyone until the day before her appointment. The judge asked Metoyer to reschedule it because her client’s alleged seven-year-old victim was about to go on the witness stand. Metoyer protested, whimpering and calling the judge “cruel.”

As a discussion ensued, Metoyer asked to use the judge’s personal restroom. After about ten minutes of silence, it was discovered that she had used her bathroom trip as a ruse to sneak out of the judge’s chambers and head back to her office.

The judge ultimately decided Metoyer could attend her appointment as scheduled but said she would have to return to the courtroom in the meantime. Again, Metoyer refused and left to see her doctor, Miles wrote. She was promptly removed from the case.

Meanwhile, Metoyer’s client accepted a deal that he had been steadfastly refusing until then, in which he would agree to register as a sex offender. The implication is that he agreed to register out of exasperation brought on by his attorney’s behavior.

Acting Public Defender Kelly Emling said her review of Metoyer’s actions revealed “no indication” that she “acted in bad faith or with actual malice.” Emling requested that the county cover the cost of her defense in the State Bar’s proceedings. But at a sanctions hearing, Metoyer was found to have abandoned her client and violated a court order. Her appeal was unsuccessful.

In issuing its recommendation for a 30-day suspension, the State Bar noted that this was the first instance of discipline for the attorney during her 15-year career. Judge Miles lamented Metoyer’s enduring lack of remorse, however, calling her actions “egregious and inexcusable” and saying they caused “real harm to the administration of justice.”

The California Supreme Court will decide whether or not to approve the suspension recommendation.



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