CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Supreme Court issued an order of public censure to Green River attorney John Joseph DeLeon. The public censure stemmed from DeLeon’s conduct, during his employment with a county attorney’s office, in making misleading statements to a law enforcement officer regarding the place of residence of a female registered sex offender who resided with DeLeon for approximately one week. When questioned by the law enforcement officer, who was investigating possible violations of the Wyoming Registered Sex Offender Act by the woman, DeLeon denied that the woman had ever resided with him. After the woman was charged with violating the Act, DeLeon disclosed his misrepresentations to the Wyoming State Bar. DeLeon admitted that he had made the misrepresentations and stipulated that such conduct violated Rules 8.4(c) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation) and 8.4(d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice) of the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct.
In approving the stipulation of DeLeon and Bar Counsel for a public censure for this conduct, a Review Panel of the Board of Professional Responsibility noted that DeLeon did not, at any time, have an attorney-client relationship with the woman. The Review Panel found that DeLeon’s candor in self-reporting the incident to Bar Counsel, his cooperation with the disciplinary process, the absence of any prior discipline, his heartfelt expression of remorse for his conduct, as well as DeLeon’s extensive history of exemplary pro bono service to indigent clients, were significant mitigating factors.
In accepting the Review Panel’s recommendation for a public censure as the appropriate sanction for DeLeon’s misconduct, the Court ordered DeLeon to pay an administrative fee in the amount of $750.00 and costs of $50.00 to the Wyoming State Bar.