Thursday, February 10, 2011
The Wyoming Supreme Court has reinstated an attorney who obtained her law degree in 1988 at the age of 45 and was admitted in 1989.
In 2004, the attorney was convicted in Massachusetts for violation of a statute that prohibits sexual intercourse by an adult with a person under the age of eighteen. The relationship at issue took place in the mid-1970s and led to a marriage and divorce. The complainant went to authorities more than 25 years after the relationship had ended and more than fifteen years after the divorce. After conviction of a felony offense at a jury trial, the attorney was placed on unsupervised probation. The probation was completed without incident.
The attorney had been suspended by order dated September 30, 2010, based on the conviction.
The order was reinstatement was issued after a disciplinary hearing and favorable recommendation by the Board on Professional Responsibility. The board report (appended to the court's order) describes a relationship that began when the complainant was sixteen and the attorney was thirty one. They had a child in 1975 and were married in 1980.
The attorney had recovered from serious health problems in the early 1980s and went to law school after the divorce. She worked for the Casper city attorney's office from 1992 until her suspension. She had pled guilty to a related but lesser offense in Wyoming in 2002. An evaluation conducted as a result of that plea concluded that the attorney "was neither a sexual aggressor nor a sexual predator."
The board noted that the conduct took place long before her admission but was not prosecuted until long after the license was granted. The board opined that the offense would not have resulted in denial of admission. (Mike Frisch)