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Albert Marmero
Albert Marmero,
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 177
Experience:  Partner at Long, Marmero, & Associates, LLP
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In WA State, what does "Clear Preponderance of the Evidence"

Customer Question

In WA State, what does "Clear Preponderance of the Evidence" mean ?
I am submitting a Bar Association complaint in the State of Washington. They say, "A lawyer may be disciplined only upon a showing by a CLEAR preponderance of the evidence that the lawyer violated the Rules of Professional Conduct." (I know what the Rules of Professional Conduct are.)
I live in California, where our three levels of burden of proof are:
1. "preponderance of the evidence" (>50% confidence);
2. "clear and convincing evidence" [> (1), but < (3)];
3. "beyond a reasonable doubt" (essentially certain).
I know that in Washington, #2 is called "clear, COGENT, and convincing."
My questions: "Is there any difference between Washington's 'CLEAR Preponderance of the Evidence' and California's 'Preponderance of the Evidence'?"
If so, what is the difference?
Thanks.
--Mark
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Albert Marmero replied 6 months ago.
I am familiar with Washington case law which defines this standard. "A clear preponderance of the evidence is an intermediate standard of proof requiring greater certainty than ‘simple preponderance’ but not to the extent required under ‘beyond reasonable doubt.’   This intermediate standard reflects the unique character of disciplinary proceedings.   The standard of proof is higher than the simple preponderance normally required in civil actions because the stigma associated with disciplinary action is generally greater than that associated with most tort and contract cases.   Yet because the interests in protecting the public, maintaining confidence, and preserving the integrity of the legal profession also weigh heavily in these proceedings, the standard of proof is somewhat lower than the beyond reasonable doubt standard required in criminal prosecutions.- See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/wa-supreme-court/1447713.html#sthash.9ED20DQB.dpufThis definition was established in a 1998 attorney discipline case known as IN RE: the DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING AGAINST Stephen C. HASKELL, Attorney at Law. So the short answer is this standard is higher than the normal "preponderance of evidence" standard, but somewhat lower than the "beyond a reasonable doubt standard."I hope this is helpful. If so, please provide a rating so I receive credit for responding to you. Also, feel free to ask follow-up questions. Thanks!!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I understand you to say "clear preponderance" is greater than "preponderance" and less than "beyond a reasonable doubt."Where does it rank in Washington compared to "clear, cogent and convincing"?--Mark
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Albert, I am waiting for your answer to my following-up question.--Mark
Expert:  Albert Marmero replied 6 months ago.
They are both considered "intermediate standards of proof" in Washington. The way I read both of them, they are identical, but they are used in different situations, as "clear, cogent" is used in fraud cases and "clear preponderance" is used in professional disciplinary proceedings. The reasons these standards exist is because courts have recognized the high stakes of these types of cases so s stricter standard was required. A fraud verdict can severely harm a business/individual and often results in treble damages and professional discipline can harm someone's career. As such, a standard greater than "preponderance of the evidence" has been required. So these two standards are identical, but developed in two separate areas of case law, hence the different names.I hope this is helpful. If so, please provide a rating so I receive credit for responding to you. Also, feel free to ask follow-up questions. Thanks!!