Court documents show a private attorney and former prosecutor from Lodi who is running for San Joaquin County District Attorney has faced varied legal challenges, including a hit-and-run accusation, allegations of appearing in court intoxicated and discipline by the State Bar of California.
Questions about Gary Hickey’s conduct trace back at least 20 years, but his most recent brush with trouble was last year.
A trial judge overturned the conviction of a robbery defendant represented by Hickey after finding that Hickey failed to disclose a prosecutor’s plea offer to the defendant, according to court documents.
In January, the defendant’s new attorney, Timothy Rien, filed a declaration accusing Hickey of appearing in court intoxicated and inadequately counseling his client.
“I am of the opinion that a reasonably competent attorney would have committed substantial more time to counseling his client ... ,” Rien wrote.
Months before Hickey was dismissed from the case, he faced other legal troubles.
Last August, Hickey was charged with a misdemeanor count of hit-and-run resulting in property damage after he crashed his car into a telephone pole and fled the scene last August, according to court documents.
In November, Hickey pleaded in abeyance, requiring him to follow orders in exchange for the charge being dismissed. As a result, he also pleaded no contest.
Hickey was ordered to pay restitution to the telephone company and show proof to the court by May 5, according to court documents.
According to The Stockton Record, police and fire crews responded around 11:45 a.m. to Cleveland and El Dorado streets in Stockton where a 2001 Mercedes SL500 had struck and damaged a telephone pole.
The driver left before authorities arrived, but Hickey’s driver’s license was found in the passenger side door.
Court documents don’t mention whether alcohol was involved, but a bartender at Dacoli’s Avenue Inn told police Hickey was at the bar at the beginning of her shift at 9:45 a.m. and left at 10 a.m., according to The Stockton Record.
Court documents reveal that Hickey faced criminal charges as early as 1991, when he was charged with resisting arrest and disturbing the peace by being too loud. The District Attorney’s office dismissed the charges the following year.
According to the State Bar of California’s website, Hickey was disciplined for professional misconduct by the state of California in 1998. The citation was classified as a private reproval, meaning “the attorney did something wrong but may still practice law.”
The citation was a warning with hopes Hickey wouldn’t “repeat the behavior,” according to the website.
Hickey, who spent seven years as a prosecutor for the District Attorney’s office in the 1980s, could not be reached via telephone on Thursday.
Hickey faces Deputy District Attorney Tori Verber-Salazar in the race to replace James Willett as the next District Attorney of San Joaquin County.
Verber-Salazar declined to comment on Hickey’s legal and professional troubles.
“I’m just going to stay focused on my candidacy and why I’m qualified to be District Attorney in San Joaquin County,” she said.
Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.