Court suspends attorney’s license

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SANDPOINT — A Sandpoint attorney’s license to practice law is being suspended for a year after he pleaded guilty to evidence tampering in a 2014 drug case in Alaska, according to the Idaho State Bar.

The Idaho Supreme Court found that Jeremy Featherston violated the bar’s rules of professional conduct by committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on a lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness and fitness as a lawyer.

The high court further ruled that Featherston engaged in conduct that was prejudicial to the administration of justice, according to the supreme court’s May 30 disciplinary order.

The misconduct dates back to 2014, when Featherston’s former brother-in-law was arrested in Alaska on drug charges.

The brother-in-law, who is identified only as S.B. in the notice of discipline, contacted Featherston’s wife from a jail and instructed her to remotely erase the data on two of his mobile phones.

Featherston is accused of erasing the data on the two devices, which were being held as evidence by authorities in Alaska, according to the bar disciplinary notice. However, the data remained accessible on other electronic devices.

Featherston was charged with felony evidence tampering in Ketchikan, Alaska, in March 2016. After defense motions to suppress evidence and dismiss the indictment were denied, Featherston pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of attempted evidence tampering, according to Alaska’s online courts database.

The Idaho State Bar said Featherston was ordered to complete 80 hours of community service.

Alaska court records further showed that Featherston was fined $2,500.

Records filed in U.S. District Court in Alaska, in addition those filed in state courts in Idaho and Washington, appear to lift the lampshade off the underlying drug case Featherston admitted to interfering with.

Court records in Washington state’s King County show that Tiffany Featherston was involved in a divorce action with Scott Evan Banchero, who was charged in federal court in Alaska with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin in Ketchikan in 2014.

Banchero admitted to the conspiracy charges involving meth in a plea agreement and was sentenced in February 2016 to serve 35 months in prison, in addition to five years of probationary supervision, according to U.S. District Court records.

Banchero, 53, was released in January, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons website.

Featherston will be on probationary status with the bar for one year once the suspension expires.

Featherston released the following statement on Thursday:

“My suspension is not related to the legal representation of any of my clients. On incomplete information I believed I was securing personal property and data from the risk of theft. I was not aware the devices were the subject of any criminal investigation nor that they were actually in police custody at the time. Though the data continued to be available from back up, As an attorney I recognize I am responsible to my profession for even the appearance of impropriety. It has been my pleasure providing legal services to the people of Bonner County for the last 16-plus years, and after serving my suspension I look forward to continuing to provide these services to my community.”

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter@KeithDailyBee.

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