Friday, April 6, 2012

Former U.S. Attorney Suspension Explained

The Alaska Supreme Court has published its opinion explaining its reasons for imposing a 25 month suspension of a former United States Attorney for Alaska last year.

The attorney engaged in a conflict of interest and related misconduct in litigation against his former client, a doctor. He became friendly with the doctor's sister. He then represented the sister in litigation over a family trust in which the doctor was an opposing party.

The attorney made claims of improper conduct against his former client as well as other attorneys in the litigation. He called his former client "satanic." His allegations were found to have violated Rule 3.1 (meritorious claims).

The court found the former representation was substantially related to the family trust case. The court also set out in some detail its concerns about the attorney's mental health based on his accusations against the former client and opposing counsel..

The attorney had filed a pleading seeking that the Assistant Bar Counsel resign, that Special Bar Counsel notift his insurance carrier of his "prosecutorial incompetence," and that the Bar's counsel attend an annual seminar on abuse. had this report of the court's suspension ruling last year:

Shea is a former U.S. Attorney for Alaska who served in the early 1990s. Later, when Sarah Palin was governor, he helped draft ethics reform recommendations for her administration.

Shea told the AP he intended to practice law again. His suspension begins June 17 [2011].

(Mike Frisch)

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