Wednesday, February 8, 2017
A six-month suspension retroactive to a previously-imposed interim suspension and probation was ordered by the Oklahoma Supreme Court
On November 15, 2014, Respondent, Ian Michael Shahan, was arrested in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for Public Intoxication. Subsequently, on February 6, 2015, Respondent was arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of Alcohol and Leaving Scene of Collision Involving Property Damage, also occurring in Tulsa, Oklahoma. All counts were filed as misdemeanors.
Respondent entered a plea of guilty on January 8, 2016, to the crime of Public Intoxication. That same day, Respondent pleaded guilty to the crime of Driving Under the Influence and no contest to Leaving Scene of Collision Involving Property Damage. Respondent received a $50 fine for the Public Intoxication count and an eighteen month deferred sentence for the DUI count. Respondent self-reported these arrests to the Oklahoma Bar Association (OBA).
On February 1, 2016, this Court entered an Order of Immediate Suspension.
Respondent's pleas of guilty and/or no contest stem from two separate cases involving three criminal counts. In the first case, Respondent was arrested on November 15, 2014, for the misdemeanor of Public Intoxication. He had been to a birthday dinner for a colleague where he consumed alcohol. Respondent left the dinner with friends and continued to drink at a bar. From this bar, he took a cab to the VFW where he consumed even more alcohol and was witnessed to be extremely intoxicated.
While at the bar at the VFW, Respondent told the female bartender, "I'm going to rape the shit out of you." The bartender alerted her manager who called the police. The manager escorted Respondent outside to wait for the police. The manager testified that Respondent was not argumentative nor did he attempt to flee. Police arrived and transported Respondent to jail.
Respondent stated he was horrified when he learned of his comment to the VFW bartender. Although he testified that he cannot imagine making such an awful statement, Respondent does not contest that he said it and has since apologized to the bartender.
Regarding the second incident, Respondent testified that on February 6, 2015, he attended a Young Lawyer's Association bowling event where he consumed alcohol. After this event, Respondent went to a bar near his home where he consumed even more alcohol. While driving home, Respondent crashed his car into a utility pole. No other vehicles or people were involved in the accident. Respondent testified that he was dazed from the collision and left the scene to walk to his nearby home when he was stopped by the police and arrested. Respondent's breath test revealed a blood alcohol level of .22. Respondent pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and no contest to Leaving Scene of Collision Involving Property Damage, also a misdemeanor.
Respondent self-reported his DUI arrest to the OBA. He stated that after this second arrest, he took all of the actions he would have counseled his own clients to take: he completed a DUI/substance abuse assessment, attended AA meetings and drug classes, and stopped drinking. Respondent also testified that he began meeting with Lawyers Helping Lawyers and volunteering with the Youthful Drunk Driving program, hoping to help others learn from his mistakes.
Respondent admits that he had become a problem drinker. He testified that for approximately eleven months following his second arrest that he did not consume any alcohol. After that point, Respondent stated that he had drinks on two occasions, as a test. Although he remained in control and did not drive on these occasions, he felt that he had worked too hard and wished to continue his sobriety. Respondent continues to meet with mentors from the Lawyers Helping Lawyers program, volunteers his time with various community service projects and shares his experiences in cooperation with the Tulsa County Youthful Drunk Driving Program in the hopes that he will prevent others from making similar poor choices to his own.
The OBA investigator testified that all of Respondent's witnesses spoke very highly of Respondent as a criminal attorney who shared great care and concern for his clients. He further testified that each witness believed that Respondent's actions leading to this matter were completely out of character for him. For example, Robert "Skip" Durbin, a Tulsa criminal defense attorney who shares office space with Respondent called him a "credit to the profession" and someone who has always been respectful of women.
Likewise, Kimberly Jantz, a family law attorney in Tulsa and close friend and law school classmate of Respondent, testified to Respondent's dedication to his sobriety and that she has never heard him utter a rude or sexist comment toward women. Tulsa County Assistant Public Defender Laura Howard is also a close friend of Respondent's. She testified that he has always been respectful and appropriate towards women. Howard further testified that Respondent's DUI accident was a "wake up call" and that he has since taken great measures to ensure a healthy lifestyle, such as attending AA meetings, volunteering at high school drinking programs and working with Lawyers Helping Lawyers. Finally, Tulsa Municipal Judge Mitchell McCune testified via telephone that Respondent was a very bright attorney who is well-liked by, and very respectful to, court staff.
The Trial Panel found that Respondent has found healthier ways to manage his personal and professional stress and that he continues to use his arrests as an opportunity to effect positive change in himself and others. As evidenced at the hearing, Respondent has a large, supportive circle of friends and professional colleagues who care about his well-being and believe in his good character. The Trial Panel found that he is in a healthy place and has made voluntary, genuine efforts to redeem himself.
Respondent's criminal convictions provide clear and convincing evidence of his actions that reflect adversely on the legal profession. His misconduct serves as a basis for the imposition of discipline, which we must determine. We appreciate Respondent's honesty, remorse and voluntary efforts to remain sober while helping others learn from his mistakes. He has garnered the support of numerous well-respected attorneys, judges, police officers, family and friends who have faith that Respondent has been rehabilitated. We find that Respondent has accepted full responsibility for the poor choices he made while consuming alcohol and that he has taken the proper steps to ensure that such behavior will not be repeated in the future.