Friday, May 16, 2008

How the mighty have fallen

Its a shame and a tragedy for him and his family.

I hope things get better for you soon James.

Myart pleads guilty to stealing from client
By Elizabeth Allen

Local lawyer James Myart, known for his flamboyant public criticism of law enforcement and a raft of personal legal troubles, pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing money from a client who happened to be the reputed founder of the Texas Mexican Mafia.

Myart had represented Heriberto “Herb” Huerta in forcing the federal government to return more than $13,000 it had seized from Huerta, who is serving three life terms in a maximum-security prison in Florence, Colo. But Myart did not pass the money on to Huerta's sister, who had power of attorney.

A subdued Myart stood before Senior District Judge Fred Shannon on Thursday afternoon.
In pleading guilty to misapplication of fiduciary property, Myart agreed to surrender his state bar card and stop practicing law.

“It could be called an extreme bookkeeping measure,” said Myart's lawyer, Christopher Gale. “But he has taken responsibility.”
Myart would have had some of that money coming to him for his legal work, Gale said, although he doesn't know how much.

The crime is a state jail felony with a maximum punishment of a $10,000 fine and two years of jail time, which unlike prison time must be served in full. The state will seek the maximum sentence, but Myart is eligible for probation, which he is seeking.

“This is something that is devastating to Mr. Myart,” Gale said. “He is losing his career. That, among other things, should be punishment enough.”
Gale said Myart will be able to reapply for his license after five years, and he hopes he will take the time to rebuild his life “and help people as he has in the past.”
“When he's in his game and has got his life together, he's a tremendous asset,” Gale said. “He has accomplished a lot of good.”

Adriana Biggs, white-collar crime chief for District Attorney Susan Reed, said, “It's my hope that James Myart never practices law in the state of Texas again.
“What's unfortunate is that Mr. Myart had clients that relied on him, and I certainly feel bad for those individuals,” Biggs said. “They're seeking assistance from their lawyer, and instead their lawyer does wrong. It's shameful conduct.”

Myart also agreed in court documents that he stole floor tiles from Habitat for Humanity in 2005 and made false reports to a peace officer and to emergency personnel, stemming from December 2006 incidents at City Hall. He did not technically plead to those offenses, and won't be sentenced for them, but the judge can consider them at the June 25 sentencing.

In April, the State Bar of Texas suspended the civil rights attorney.

Myart also was facing disbarment in federal court, but in recent days a committee of lawyers who convened to review allegations against him was alerted that Myart would be withdrawing his law license, the district's chief judge, Walter S. Smith Jr. of Waco, said Thursday.