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Home / Bar Disciplinary Actions / Wake County attorney reprimanded

Wake County attorney reprimanded

Attorney: Steven L. Gourley  

Location: Wake County  

Bar Membership:  

Disciplinary action: Reprimand 


The defendant was found guilty of professional misconduct due to the development of a personal relationship with a past client. After the defendant prosecuted several domestic violence charges in which his client was a complaining witness/victim, they got involved in a romantic relationship. Although the defendant’s relationship with his client did not occur during a time of active prosecution of a case in which she was the victim/complaining witness, given the history of repeated domestic violence charges, it was reasonably likely that the DA’s Office would be reviewing the abuser’s compliance with probation and/or seeking to revoke his bond. In addition, the DA’s Office was prosecuting additional charges against the abuser while they were dating. Accordingly, the defendant should have reported the relationship to his superiors so they could be screened from any matter involving the client or the abuser, and the DA’s Office could demonstrate that defendant’s personal conflict of interest did not affect the State’s handling of cases against the abuser. His failure to properly and openly address the fact that he was dating the victim of crimes being prosecuted by the DA’s Office was prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of Rule 8.4(d), in that it cast doubt on the integrity of the criminal process, formed the basis for MARs seeking to set aside several of the abusers convictions, and limited the State’s options in prosecuting him. 

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