By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s Supreme Court has denied, 11 days after it ended, a request by Laramie County’s district attorney that her disciplinary hearing be recorded.
The court on Tuesday rejected the request of Leigh Anne Manlove to allow the live-streaming of her hearing before the Board of Professional Responsibility, which ended on Feb. 11.
The ruling came 21 days after Manlove submitted a request for an emergency order from the court to allow her to record and live-stream the proceedings.
“After careful review of the petition, the materials attached thereto, and this file, this court finds the (request) should be denied,” said the order, signed by Chief Justice Kate Fox.
The BPR is the body that oversees the behavior of attorneys. Manlove’s hearing, which began Feb. 2 and ended Feb. 11, allowed the Office of Bar Counsel to present its allegations against the district attorney and seek discipline.
The charges raised included allegations Manlove exaggerated the impact of budget cuts on her office to dismiss almost 1,00 cases from Laramie County courts.
The BPR’s three-member hearing pane concluded that Manlove violated multiple rules of professional conduct and should be barred from the practice of law.
The chairman of the BPR’s hearing panel, Christopher Hawks, ruled in late January that live-streaming of the proceedings would be allowed if the State Bar or Manlove would pay the cost.
Manlove said she would pay for the live-streaming, but then Hawks reversed his earlier stance and ruled on Feb. 1, the day before Manlove’s hearing began, that video or audio recording of the proceedings would not be allowed.
Manlove on Feb. 1 asked for an order overturning Hawks’ decision, saying it was important members of the public be able to watch the hearing given its historic nature.
“This is a crucially important case and one of first impression in the state of Wyoming,” she wrote. “In this case, the Office of Bar Counsel … seeks to remove Manlove from her duly elected office as the Laramie County District Attorney before the end of her term, using the lawyer disciplinary proceedings process as the vehicle, and based upon various allegations of lawyer misconduct — allegations that criticize Manlove’s office and personnel management, case management, prosecutorial discretion, and her response to the novel and unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Supreme Court’s order did not address Manlove’s arguments but simply denied her request.