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Criminal Judge Questions Competency of Lawyer

Criminal Judge Questions Competency of Lawyer: A judge is questioning whether a suspended California lawyer who has advised some clients to break into their foreclosed homes and is now facing criminal prosecution is competent to stand trial.

Judge Runston Maino appointed counsel for attorney Michael T. Pines, 59, who is defending himself pro se and scheduled a hearing later this week on whether to require a mental evaluation, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Statements: Criminal Judge Questions Competency of Lawyer

“They’re trying to get more time because they realized they have no case,” Pines told the newspaper today, calling the judge’s move in the San Diego County case a “delay tactic.”
Prosecutors charge that Pines had advised an evicted family to retake possession of their home for roughly two months and, during that time, stalked and harassed the current occupants — Phillip Ladman and his family — as well as Ladman’s business partner, Ronald Bamberger.

Pines — who is unrelated to another Michael Pines, a personal injury attorney in La Jolla who is 53 — has been ordered not to practice law after he failed to respond to a State Bar Court notice of disciplinary charges.

He has had numerous run-ins with authorities throughout Southern California, mainly stemming from instances where he would help families break back into their foreclosed homes, notifying the media and authorities beforehand.

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