Sentencing postponed for former Bakersfield attorney who pleaded no contest to embezzlement charge

Crime Watch

Barbara Harris

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Sentencing for a former Bakersfield attorney who pleaded no contest to a felony embezzlement charge was postponed Friday, and a motion to withdraw her plea is listed on the court website.

Barbara Lynn Harris’ new sentencing date is set for Dec. 9. Harris would stand trial if she successfully withdraws her plea.

Harris, who practiced family law, was disbarred earlier this year in connection with misappropriating of hundreds of thousands of dollars from a client, according to the California State Bar.

In 2004, Harris represented a woman in divorce proceedings where  it was ordered the family house be sold and the proceeds of the sale be placed in Harris’ client trust account for stipulated disbursements. The couple later filed a complaint with the State Bar after Harris failed to comply with court orders to produce an accounting of the money, according to court filings.

The Office of Chief Trial Counsel of the State Bar held a trial July 2, 2019, and found Harris culpable of multiple allegations, including failing to maintain records of client property and moral turpitude by intentionally misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars, the filings said. In ordering her disbarment, the California Supreme Court ruled she must pay restitution of more than $370,000 to the couple whose funds she allegedly misappropriated.

Prosecutors filed the embezzlement charge against Harris in June.

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