Wyoming State Bar Charges Filed Against Laramie County D.A.
UPDATE: Laramie County D.A. Says She Is “Confident I Will Be Exonerated”
A formal charge accusing Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Ann Manlove of incompetence, lack of professionalism, and poor caseload management has been filed with the Wyoming State Bar Board of Professional Responsibility.
Manlove early Thursday contacted Townsquare Media of Cheyenne and said she would be issuing a statement on the matter sometime today [June 17].
Among other things, the formal charging document says Manlove fired all but one of the prosecutors and several other staff members upon assuming office in early 2019. It says she then filed for several delays in trials, falsely accusing her predecessor, Jeremiah Sandburg, of being the cause of the delays.
The document goes on to say "Owing to Manlove's incompetence and lack of professionalism, the office was an unhealthy workplace from the beginning of her administration. The new office manager began at once to take notes. Manlove's new legal assistant, L.R., was reportedly hired at a higher salary than others who did the same work. Complaints about the legal assistant's hostile behavior began at once."
The document then describes allegations of complaints about the legal assistant allegedly making statements demeaning other staff members. It also alleged complaints that the legal assistant's tone and attitude were causing friction with court clerks.
Another allegation in the document alleges that Andrew Weaver was released from jail in September of 2019 when Manlove's office failed to file charges against him in a timely manner.
Five days later Weaver was charged with killing two adults and injuring two 14-year-old boys in a shooting incident.
Manlove then, according to the document, falsely claimed that the charges had been filed on time and that Weaver had been released because he had not been seen by a circuit court judge within 72 hours, as required by state law.
The document also claims Manlove tried to "obsessively control'' the work of attorneys in her office and required them to get her personal approval for negotiated pleas, which "complicates managing the workload."
Other allegations in the document accuse Manlove of such things as encouraging law enforcement officers "to shoulder the burden of prosecuting all non-priority offenses" and of refusing to prosecute Game and Fish violations. It says that she tried to blame state budget cuts for an inability to prosecute cases, when in fact the real problem was too many employees quitting because of a toxic work environment. She allegedly also ordered employees not to report overtime hours.
At one point, the complaint expresses concerns about Manlove's ability to "provide our citizens with the representation in the District Attorney's Office that they deserve."
The complaint was filed by State Bar Special counsel W.W. Reeves on Friday, June 11. Manlove has 20 days to legally respond to the complaint.
The State Bar could choose to reprimand Manlove after a series of proceedings and hearings if they find the allegations merit that action. They could also decline to take any action, or the two sides could negotiate an agreement.
If she is reprimanded, the Wyoming Supreme Court could then choose to publically censure her, suspend her for anywhere between 30 days and three years, or it could disbar her from practicing law in Wyoming.
Manlove, who is a Republican, was elected as Laramie County District Attorney in 2018.
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