Charges of violating rules of professional conduct filed against Laramie County DA
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - A formal charge has been filed with the Board of Professional Responsibility regarding the conduct of Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove.
According to the document several rules have allegedly been violated. Those include the duty of competence, duty of diligence, duty of candor to the tribunal, and duty to follow rules of the tribunal. The document also states that Manlove’s conduct violates Rule 8.4(d) which states, “It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.”
The document includes numerous examples that alleged misconduct which include:
Firing almost all of the competent attorneys and staff on her first day in office. The document states a series of motions were filed to delay trial settings following, falsely claiming it was due to misconduct to her predecessor.
Engaging in abusive behavior toward staff to the degree that they resigned. The report says that eight lawyers and nine support staff resigned between April 2019 and November 2020 and that only one of the new lawyers hired in January 2019 is still on the job.
Other allegations include exaggerating the impact of budget restraints which led to unjustified reductions in services provided by her office and directing dismissal of cases in a manner that jeopardized public safety. The report states that along with an announcement of prosecutions being reduced, dismissals of cases also increased. The report shows in District Court, 75 cases were dismissed between October 2019 and February 2020. That increased to 132 between the same time frame in 2020 into 2021. Almost 800 cases were dismissed during that time frame in Circuit Court.
The charge was filed on Friday the 11th. Manlove has 20 days to respond.
The document asks the Board of Professional Responsibility to conduct a formal disciplinary hearing into the allegations. The board is made up of 9 members, including lawyers and non-lawyers. It’s a recommending body. The Wyoming Supreme Court makes decisions for discipline.
Wyoming News Now reached out to the District Attorney’s office for comment.
Thursday afternoon, Manlove issued a statement, “Now that this matter is public and I am permitted to speak about it, I welcome the opportunity to ensure that the people of Laramie County who elected me get to hear all of the facts,” Manlove said. “I will be filing a formal response so that the public has the benefit of hearing both sides of the story,” Manlove said. “Politics is a contact sport, and I knew that coming into office, but my number one priority is fulfilling my obligation as a public servant,” Manlove continued. “I have a job to do, and I will not lose sight of that. This process will unfold as it must, according to the Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, and I am confident I will be exonerated,” Manlove said.
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