Thursday, April 8, 2021
Despite an expressed appreciation for career accomplishments, the Wyoming Supreme Court has disbarred the former Chief Judge of the Wind Rind River Tribal Court.
In light of "significant mitigating factors " and the "long delay," the court imposed the sanction retroactive to the date the attorney resigned the judgeship.
From the Board of Professional Responsibility report
Respondent was raised in a dysfunctional family. Her entire family is afflicted with addiction issues. Mother, father, stepfather, brothers and sisters all had substance abuse issues. Aunts, uncles and cousins all had either substance abuse or gambling addictions. Respondent's definition of "helping family" often meant helping them find drugs or alcohol. Living on the reservation, respondent witnessed a lot of fighting, drinking, drug abuse, and people struggling to make a living However, to her, this was normal. Her family relationships created a symbiosis in drug-seeking behavior. It is perhaps incongruous that in spite of her environment and her own addictive struggles, Respondent was able to obtain not only a college degree but complete a graduate law school program and have a successful career as an attorney, although in the end she could not fully escape her formative environment. For many years, Respondent excelled in the face of extraordinary odds.
Her downfall was the result of an opioid addiction.
She pled guilty to two federal felony offenses involving conspiracy to distribute drugs and cooperated in the criminal investigation.
The many persons who face charges or have been convicted as a result of Respondent's cooperation and assistance to the government have friends and family all over the Reservation. Families are inter-related. Loyalties run deep. The parties agree that Respondent's cooperation with prosecutors in the face of such threats merits consideration as a mitigating factor...