Tim Kay is close to becoming a legal system unto himself. In the town of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, Tim Kay defended Robert John “R.J.” Manders, a businessman, on his third drunken-driving conviction. One week later, he was prosecuting Manders for trespass. That’s right, Kay is both a defense counsel and prosecutor in the town.
Previously, Kay has prosecuted Manders for disorderly conduct, unsafe boating, theft and other charges. (To say the least, Manders appears to be something of a local hazard, even though he is repeatedly described in articles as a “prominent businessman.”) Manders is the president of the Okauchee Area Business Association and hired Kay to defend him on the drunken-driving charge and also to represent him in a divorce.
So, Kay has confidential information from Manders as a client and has received money from him — yet Kay sees no problem in serving as a prosecutor against his client. He receives $20,000 a year for the municipal court work representing the Town of Oconomowoc and the Village of Oconomowoc Lake.
Municipal Judge Douglas Stern was . . . well . . . stern with Kay. He expressed his unhappiness with the past relationship, saying that it did not “pass the smell test.” Yet, at Kay’s urging, agreed to the dismissal Dec. 26, dropping a charge that Manders had trespassed on a neighbor’s pier on Okauchee Lake.
Tom Martin, a former Town Board member, is critical of Kay, saying “Tim Kay has got his hands in too many pies. He’s in with the good old boys.”
It is hard to see how an attorney could conclude that these arrangements do not violate basic principles of professional conduct and legal ethics.
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5 thoughts on “Super Kay: Attorney Acts As Both Defense Attorney and Prosecutor for Local Businessman”
“How can Mr.Kay do his job, either as a prosecutor or defense attorney without prejudice? That is not considering the ethics involved.”
You’ve got it. He can’t and he knows it, and that’s the reason for the “ethics involved.”
How can Mr.Kay do his job, either as a prosecutor or defense attorney without prejudice? That is not considering the ethics involved.
You are right that in collar counties and downstate counties, cities and towns hire private lawyers to prosecute their misdemeanor cases, including driving infractions and others. This in itself is not a problem. The problem is when this Kay guy wants to play both sides of the fence and for some reason doesn’t see the problem with that. He needs to be disciplined by the bar association and Oconomowoc needs to hire another firm to prosecute files.
I’ve seen similar situations in the collar counties surrounding Chicago. Towns often hire private firms as “city prosecutors”. These same firms also often (usually) do defense work in the same building. Although they handle only misdemeanors, withe the State’s Attorney handling felonies, the system really does reek.
Then again, this is Illinois. I may have to stop mocking Texas. Hook ’em Horns.
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