The State Supreme Court today approved a stiff suspension for Margita A. Dornay, the Eastside attorney and prosecutor whose fiery affair with a King County sheriff's deputy left him jobless after a court took away his gun. The 2002 love affair between the married Dornay and the divorced deputy David Hicks lost its lust-er after Hicks allegedly claimed he had mob connections and suggested the head of the $5,500 horse he'd given Dornay might wind up in her bed, Godfather-style. They blamed each other for the loss of both their jobs - a suburban court stripped the deputy of his gun after he made threats against Dornay, and the Washington State Bar Association disciplinary board recommended the attorney be suspended for lying under oath on Hicks' behalf at a custody/parenting hearing over his three-year-old.
Though the independent disciplinary board backed a lengthy suspension, the full bar felt she should be disbarred from practicing, while Dornay said her misconduct should be excused. Both sides appealed. The high court took the middle ground, siding with the disciplinary board by approving a three-year suspension. "One of the key obligations of an attorney," wrote Justice Charles Johnson, "is to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct. Above all, the hallmark of an attorney's ethical conduct is to be truthful to the tribunal, especially under oath..." In a dissent with two other justices, Justice Richard Sanders said it was not clear that Dornay's perjury had been proved beyond a reasonable doubt. "Honesty is an important attribute of a lawyer," he wrote. But "perjury must be proved with clarity not present here."