Bar panel recommends suspension for Shea

Posted: Friday, June 18, 2010

JUNEAU - An Alaska bar committee has recommended suspending the law license of former U.S. Attorney Wevley Shea, finding something "terribly wrong" with his actions involving a former client.

Shea disputed the allegations and findings of the three-member hearing panel, and said Thursday that he intends to appeal.

The panel determined that Shea, who helped draft ethics reform recommendations for former Gov. Sarah Palin, had a conflict of interest in representing Deborah Ivy, the sister of former client David Kyzer, in a family dispute.

It also found he made "false statements of fact" against Kyzer or his attorneys in court filings and acted unprofessionally in court pleadings, using language or displaying conduct the committee described as demeaning, intemperate, frivolous and outrageous.

"Respondent has a long and proud background of public service, and he is credible in his testimony that he wholeheartedly believes in the appropriateness of his actions. But that is precisely the problem," the panel wrote in its recommendations Wednesday. "Respondent still does not appreciate that his actions were inappropriate."

Shea said the hearing panel was misled and that he feels "very strongly" about the actions he's taken. He said he understands the law and will not back off his statements, and that he's done what he felt was necessary.

A disciplinary board has yet to hear the matter.

The hearing committee recommended that Shea be suspended from practicing law for 25 months and that he demonstrate "via evidence from a psychiatrist or psychologist" that he's mentally fit to return to law practice. It said a longer suspension could "easily" be recommended but that it's giving Shea "maximum credit" for lack of prior discipline.

"To be blunt, there is something terribly wrong with respondent's actions and lack of perspective," it wrote.

Kyzer declined comment; his attorney, John Thorsness, said he's known Shea for years and is "sad about this."

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