A State ethics commission recommends former Cass County Attorney Jim Barry’s license to practice law be suspended indefinitely, with no possibility of reinstatement for at least 18 months. The Commission’s findings was filed July 30th, following an amended complaint submitted by the Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board.
The complaint alleges that on various dates and times, Barry, who served as the County Attorney for 17 years, failed to among other things, exercise independent professional judgment; withdraw as counsel when he became a witness; avoid the influence of others and, to represent his clients within the boundaries of the law.
It also says he engaged in prosectorial misconduct in no fewer than eight cases brought before him, and otherwise engaged in misconduct in the possession and return of firearms, and in the misuse of public funds. Barry never denied the allegations, but refused to accept the conclusion that he had violated any provisions under the Iowa Code of Professional Responsibility for Lawyers.
The ethics commission recommended Barry be suspended because of his "cowboy methods" as a prosecutor, and and created the impression that "justice in Cass County could be bought." The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the recommendation sometime within the next six months.
Barry was also the subject of two previous disciplinary actions. In July 2005, he received a private admonition for conduct in 2002 involving a conflict of interest, and in August 2004, he was publicly reprimanded by the Iowa Supreme Court for circumstances involving conduct in office.
Since his removal from office in September 2004, Barry has not engaged in private legal practice, but is involved in legal matters for his employer, Hoffman Incorporated.