SHERIDAN – The Wyoming Bar Association suspended the license of a local attorney convicted on criminal charges in the 4th District Court for driving under the influence of crime. While it’s not his first suspension, there is no rule that dictates how many times a lawyer license can be suspended.
Clay Jenkins pleaded guilty to the District Court on February 6, 2020, after initially pleading not guilty on September 12, 2019. Jenkins was sentenced on July 20 to three to seven years in prison with a 12-day prison term.
Sheridan County’s Assistant District Attorney Christopher LaRosa said during his modification of the hearing on Feb.6. Jenkins’ roadside breath test found a blood alcohol level of 0.21% and a later test at the Sheridan County Detention Center found 0.19%.
A Nov. 6th ruling by the Wyoming Supreme Court justices suspended the attorney immediately following an “Attorney Immediate Suspension Motion” filed by the Wyoming State Bar on August 21st.
On September 9, the state court gave Jenkins the opportunity to demonstrate why his license should not be revoked. When they received no response, the court found that Jenkins’ license should be suspended immediately.
Given his conviction of a major felony under the Wyoming Disciplinary Code, his conviction is suspended immediately. Supreme Court judges have the option to suspend the convicted attorney for a definite or indefinite period.
The court suspended Jenkins’ ability to practice for a year in 2013 after negligently engaged in divorce proceedings and driven home after drug abuse treatment. Documents from 2013 said the attorney had a history of substance abuse. In 2016, following another DUI conviction, the Wyoming Supreme Court granted another six-month suspended sentence beginning June 29, 2016.
Prior to the official suspension of his lawyer license, Jenkins practiced on behalf of Michael Dykhorst in March and was viewed by Jeremy Herrera as a potential alternative attorney for Herrera’s case.
Jenkins was admitted to the bar in 1984 and practiced in Sheridan. However, a history of substance abuse remains with the attorney, “which he has addressed with varying degrees of success over the years,” according to 2016 court documents following the suspension of his second attorney’s license.
Sharon Wilkinson, executive director of the Wyoming State Bar, said there is no rule that dictates how many times a lawyer license can be suspended.
“Typically, however, repeated incidents of wrongdoing lead to increasingly stringent sanctions, including sometimes bans,” Wilkinson said.
The attorney investigates every case of potential lawyer misconduct and sometimes includes a hearing with the Board of Professional Responsibility. The Wyoming Supreme Court will ultimately make decisions about the suspension, she said.
Jenkins was suspended for one year in 2013 and six months in 2016. First, he had to apply to the Board of Professional Responsibility for reinstatement. His second suspension automatically restored him based on the length of time he was suspended. The length of the suspension was not indicated in the November 6th Supreme Court records.
All public suspensions are made available to the public through the Wyoming State Bar’s online directory. Details of public suspensions can be obtained from the Bar Association or from the Supreme Court opinion.
Under the latest court order, Jenkins must not accept a new attorney job in any new case or legal matter and must notify all current clients and require a substitute attorney for all active cases.
Ashleigh Snoozy joined The Sheridan Press as a reporter in October 2016, before moving to the position of senior editor in November 2018. She is from Colorado and studied at Biola University in Los Angeles.