A state district judge ruled from the bench on Feb. 16 that the State Bar of Texas failed to meet its burden of proof regarding its allegations that Lubbock lawyer Kevin Glasheen (pictured) committed attorney misconduct while representing two exonerated prisoners.
In 2010, the Bar’s Commission for Lawyer Discipline filed a petition against Glasheen in a state district court. In the Dec. 12, 2011, First Amended Disciplinary Petition, filed in the 99th District Court, the Commission for Lawyer Discipline alleges Glasheen charged "an illegal fee or a fee prohibited by law" to two former prison inmates -- Steven C. Phillips and Patrick Waller -- who had been "declared innocent" and had hired Glasheen to pursue claims for damages against the state. Specifically, the commission alleged that Glasheen did not explain to the exonerated men that his contingent fee was for his "involvement in a purely administrative process which required no legal skill or advocacy beyond filling out a form" to receive compensation from the state.
Judge Robin Darr of the 385th District Court in Midland ruled in Glasheen’s favor at the end of a four-day bench trial.
Glasheen says the judge saw his point of view in the case: Glasheen had signed up the clients intending to litigate federal civil rights cases for them yet didn’t have to after he helped lobby the Texas Legislature to increase funding to exonerated prisoners. He says he previously filed civil rights cases for other clients but didn’t need to do so for these clients after the Legislature took action.
“These fee arrangements — between statutory compensation and our federal civil rights cases — were intertwined. . . . [Y]ou had to understand the case in light of those facts,” Glasheen says.
As to his theory as to why he did not commit misconduct: “It was an election-of-remedies case,” he says.
Linda Acevedo, chief disciplinary counsel for the State Bar of Texas says the commission is considering whether to appeal the trial court’s ruling in the case.
--- John Council