CA: Prosecutor Flashed Badge to Escape DUI; Now Faces 2 Year Suspension

Former San Francisco Deputy Attorney Marc Guillory is facing a two-year suspension of his law license following the ruling of a State Bar of California judge earlier this year.

Guillory has four misdemeanor violations against him related to driving under the influence of alcohol. Three of those occurred while Guillory was a San Francisco deputy district attorney between 2008 and 2012. In each of the incidents, Guillory was at least 2 times over the legal limit and flashed his badge to try and get out of an arrest; in the third instance he was found passed out at stop light with the car in drive, the engine running and his foot on the brake.

In a 27-page opinion, Judge Pat McElroy ruled in February that Guillory had committed misconduct and “moral turpitude” in the course of all four violations.

This finding was based in part on the fact that Guillory prosecuted up to 20 DUI cases and settled a further 100 prior to his own DUI in 2008, and knows full well the harm that drunk-driving causes:

“Respondent settled as many as 100 DUI cases. As such, respondent was well aware of the harm that a person driving under the influence of alcohol could do to himself or to others.” (p. 4)

“As a former DA, who prosecuted DUIs, respondent is well aware of the wide swath of death, pain, grief and untold physical and emotional injury that the drunk driver cuts across the roads of California and the rest of this country.” (p. 7-8)

Guillory didn’t do himself any favors when he tried to mislead police about how much alcohol he had consumed once he was pulled over. According to Judge McElroy, Guillory told police at the time of the 2008 and 2010 incidents that he’d just had a drink or two when in fact his blood-alcohol level was at twice the legal limit. In 2012 he told police he hadn’t drunk anything at all when he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.24.

But what’s most alarming about Guillory committing these offenses as a prosecutor was his determination to persuade law enforcement that he should be let off the hook because of his position. Judge McElroy writes,

“One of the more egregious aspects of the conduct surrounding respondent’s misconduct were his bad faith attempts to use his position as a public servant to evade arrest and other consequences of his criminal conduct. Respondent engaged in the practice known as “badging.” Badging, involves the presentation of one’s employment identification by an individual, such as a judge, attorney, policeperson or a fireperson, to a law enforcement office in order to gain special treatment and/or avoid arrest based on one’s status as a public servant.

Respondent not only showed his employment identification, but he made specific verbal requests of law enforcement officers to let him go based on his status as a district attorney.” (p. 16)

McElroy found that Guillory consistently “acted with a disregard for the law and court orders” and recommended a minimum two years actual suspension plus a period of probation.

Read the opinion in full here.

Guillory, who is now in private practice, is still able to practice law until the California Supreme Court approves Judge McElroy’s recommendation in the coming months. His request for reconsideration was denied in March.

Prior to his job with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, Guillory was an assistant district attorney in San Bernadino county.

Read the California Bar Journal’s summary of Guillory’s violations and suspension here.

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