Sex chat trials
However, law professor Ronald Rotunda, an ethics scholar at Chapman University in Orange, California, noted that the reason lawyer-client relationships are barred – they could cloud the lawyer’s judgment – applies to prosecutor-police affairs as well.
He said an emotional entanglement could keep a prosecutor from disclosing problems in a case that might embarrass the investigator.
In an unrelated case in Christian County, attorneys for a former soldier charged in the murder of a fellow GI will ask a judge to disqualify Commonwealth’s Attorney Lynn Pryor because of her relationship with an investigator.
In court papers, lawyers for Jarred Tabor Long in the Christian County case say defendants have a right to trial by a “disinterested prosecutor whose vision is not clouded” and “an intimate relationship between a prosecuting attorney and a lead investigative detective would be considered anything but disinterested.” In an email to the Courier-Journal, Pryor called Long’s motion “a futile, last-minute attempt to derail this trial and avoid the inevitable” — his conviction in the murder of Vincent Goslyn.“There has been no legitimate challenge calling into question the integrity of this investigation, any of the detectives or officers involved, or the evidence against Long,” she said.
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In her email, Pryor said, “As is common practice in any criminal prosecution, I have certainly discussed the case with the detectives involved in the investigation, and there has been nothing improper about any of those discussions.”She said there is no basis for calling her as a witness.“I believe that this is an unfair attack on myself and the detective,” Pryor said.
The documents went to the Kentucky attorney general’s office, which took over the case. His 18-page order doesn’t mention Talley Smith's involvement with Mc Vay, nor does it address her knowledge about the video.
In one of the emails, Mc Vay wrote that he didn’t tell Tally Smith about the man in the video because she appeared “stressed.”In a long letter to Mc Vay, Talley Smith wrote that “even if I was aware that you had lied here or there on cases, I wouldn’t have wavered in that loyalty to you and ‘having your back.’ ”In her email to the Courier-Journal, she said she drafted the letter 10 months after the trial but never sent it because “I realized that I had completely misunderstood that situation.”She has resisted calls from the Boone County attorney and judge-executive to resign.
Talley Smith, the Boone prosecutor, said in an email that she “absolutely regrets” her relationship with Detective Bruce Mc Vay, “mostly because of the pain that I have caused my own family and other persons.”But she said the relationship didn't become personal until after the trial of janitor David Wayne Dooley, who was convicted in the murder of Michelle Mockbee, a 42-year-old mother of two whose body was found in an industrial park where she worked.
And Talley Smith, who was and is married to a district court judge, said her “personal mistakes during an extremely difficult period of my life have not impacted the work I have done as commonwealth’s attorney or the rights of any persons prosecuted by my office.”Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys prohibit sex with clients but do not directly address whether prosecutors may have relationships with police officers working on their case.