The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled to suspend local attorney Becket Hinckley from practicing law for three years. Photo: WikiMedia Commons

JACKSON, Wyo. — The Wyoming Supreme Court suspended Becket Hinckley, Teton County prosecuting attorney, for three years, according to a press release from the Supreme Court.

It’s a lighter punishment than disbarment, which a hearing panel recommended. The order of suspension found that there was “no question that prosecutorial misconduct occurred prior to and during trial.”

The suspension stems from an aggravated assault case Hinckley prosecuted that resulted in the defendant’s conviction following a jury trial, according to a press release. The Court held that Hinckley failed to comply with a pretrial discovery order and “interfered with the defendant’s opportunity to discover potentially exculpatory information,” according to the press release.

Hinckley also “violated the long-established prohibitions against vouching for the competence of law enforcement officers and the quality of the investigation,” the Court found.

The case was remanded for a new trial, and Hinckley failed again to comply with the court’s pretrial discovery order. The order required him to “exercise due diligence to obtain information from Facebook and Verizon regarding the alleged victim’s accounts during the period preceding and shortly after the assault and provide it to the defendant.” Hinckley was ultimately removed from the case, and the case ended in a “nolo” plea (a plea by which a defendant accepts conviction but does not admit guilt).

In May, a three-member hearing panel of the Board of Professional Responsibility (BPR) found Hinckley violated numerous rules of professional conduct. The panel recommended disbarment.

Instead, the Supreme Court ruled to suspend Hinckley from practicing law for three years in a 3-2 decision. The court agreed with the panel’s findings regarding some rule violations, but not all.

Buckrail @ Shannon

Shannon is a Wyoming-raised writer and reporter. She just completed a master's in journalism from Boston University. Jackson shaped her into an outdoorswoman, but a love for language and the human condition compels her to write. She believes there's no story too small to tell nor adventure too small to take.