Friday, April 20, 2012

Bad Guidance

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has suspended two attorneys (orders linked here and here) as a result of Alford pleas in a criminal matter.

Oklahoma's Own News 9 reports on the charges:

 After spending years living with accusations of bribing an officer, three Oklahoma City attorneys are now charged with their role in the alleged crime.

The charges against David Ogle, Sam Kerr, and Josh Welch came down from Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater on Friday. The statute of limitations on the case is set to expire on August 22, 2010.

Ogle is charged with actually bribing an officer. Kerr is charged with offering a bribe. Welch is charged with obstructing an officer from his duties.

The case stems from a DUI case where an Edmond officer made an arrest. Court documents say the driver hired Sam Kerr to defend him. At the time, Kerr worked for attorneys David Ogle and Josh Welch at their firm.

After the DUI case was settled, the client still needed to resolve an issue with his driver's license with the Department of Public Safety. That's where Oklahoma County prosecutors say the bribery came into play.

The D.A. said in the summer of 2007, attorney Josh Welch contacted a retired Edmond Police Officer named Chris Caplinger. It is believed that the contact came at the suggestion of David Ogle on behalf of Sam Kerr.

It is alleged that a conversation about the DUI client resulted in a bribe. Kerr supposedly made arrangements for Caplinger to pay Edmond officer Danny Austill $500 to not show up for the DPS hearing. When Austill did not show up, documents say Kerr contacted Caplinger and told him, "Your buddy came through, there will be a check for you at the office."

However, Austill had already told a supervisor about the alleged bribery offers. His information launched an undercover investigation through Edmond police and the OSBI. Caplinger and another officer Andrew Adrande were arrested on felony charges back in 2007 for their roles.

David's Ogle attorney said his client is innocent. Mack Martin released the following statement to NEWS 9:

"I am saddened and disappointed that this has taken three years to result in the action that the District Attorney took today. David Ogle is like a brother to me, and I know of no finer attorney and no greater or ethical gentleman."

Sam Kerr's attorney said his client has not decided on a plea yet. John Coyle gave NEWS 9 this statement:

"Sam was a brand new lawyer when they say this occurred. He obviously received bad guidance."

Sam Kerr, who is no longer practicing law, is the great grandson of former Oklahoma governor and U.S. Senator Robert S. Kerr.

The court here ordered inquiry into the appropriate final discipline for the convictions.

KRMG.com has this report on the pleas. (Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2012/04/the-oklahoma-supreme-court-has-suspended-two-attorneys-orders-linked-here-and-here-as-a-result-of-alford-pleas-in-a-crimina.html

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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