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State High Court Bars Hoax Writer Stephen Glass from Practicing Law

| January 27, 2014
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Three Strikes Law, gavel

(Photo: steakpinball Flickr)

The California Supreme Court has just issued a 33-page ruling rejecting disgraced journalist Stephen Glass‘s application to practice law in California.

Glass was a young journalist who made a reputation writing gripping “real-life” tales for the New Republic and other publications. In 1998, it was discovered many of his stories, and the memorable characters whose tales he related, were completely fabricated. To make matters worse, he also fabricated evidence that his stories were true.

Glass, now 41, eventually graduated from law school, was rejected by the New York State Bar on moral grounds, then came to California, where he passed the bar exam in 2007. Today’s court ruling is on Glass’s application to practice law in the state. The court rejected the application, ruling that Glass was unfit to practice law despite 12 years of psychotherapy and a record of pro bono work as a law clerk. Here’s the decision’s conclusion (with the full ruling embedded below):

Glass and the witnesses who supported his application stress his talent in the law and his commitment to the profession, and they argue that he has already paid a high enough price for his misdeeds to warrant admission to the bar. They emphasize his personal redemption, but we must recall that what is at stake is not compassion for Glass, who wishes to advance from being a supervised law clerk to enjoying a license to engage in the practice of law on an independent basis. Given our duty to protect the public and maintain the integrity and high standards of the profession, our focus is on the applicant‟s moral fitness to practice law. On this record, the applicant failed to carry his heavy burden of establishing his rehabilitation and current fitness.

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About the Author ()

Dan Brekke has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.

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