ELYRIA — There isn’t enough evidence to support the allegation that attorney Heather Wilsey overdosed on heroin two times in December, her lawyer wrote in a response to a request by the Lorain County Bar Association to have Wilsey’s law license suspended on an emergency basis.
The Bar Association asked the Ohio Supreme Court to step in last week based on incidents Dec. 23 and 24 in which police and emergency medical personnel were called to two separate Lorain homes after Wilsey collapsed. The anti-overdose drug naloxone was administered in both cases.
The Bar Association has argued the 27-year-old Wilsey “poses the potential for a substantial threat of serious harm to herself, her clients and the public and currently is or may be unfit to practice law.”
But her lawyer, Mike Kinlin, wrote that there were no drugs found at either scene and that Wilsey suffered a similar seizure in November 2014. The cause of that seizure was never determined and naloxone, which is used to treat opioid overdoses, wasn’t used in that case.
“Are these medical issues cause for concern? Absolutely,” Kinlin wrote. “However, there is insufficient evidence of drug usage or any rule violation from the December 2016 incidents that suddenly warrant an immediate deprivation of (Wilsey’s) license to practice law.”
Wilsey, Kinlin wrote, is entitled to due process from an ethics review, which already is underway into her actions June 9 when Wilsey crashed an Acura she was driving into a utility pole at East Avenue and Fourth Street in Elyria.
When police arrived they found Wilsey and another attorney, Kenneth Lewis, walking away from the scene. Lewis told police that a black man the white couple had met at the Train Station Bar had been behind the wheel and fled after the crash, a version of events Wilsey backed up.
Police later pulled surveillance footage from the bar that showed Wilsey and Lewis were the only people to get in the car. Wilsey drove the car out of the parking lot, officers wrote in a report on the incident.
Lewis and Wilsey both pleaded no contest to obstructing official business in the case. Wilsey also pleaded no contest to failure to maintain physical control, which was reduced from a DUI charge as part of her plea agreement.
Both Wilsey and Lewis are under investigation by the Supreme Court’s disciplinary arm for that incident.
Lewis also pleaded no contest to a DUI charge after he and Wilsey were caught having sexual relations in a parked car by a Brunswick Hills police officer in September. That incident also was included in the bar association’s most recent complaint against Wilsey, something Kinlin wrote had no bearing on her ability to practice law, even if it raises questions about decisions she’s made in her personal life.
“The mention of the September 2016 incident is downright inflammatory and designed to stir the moral prejudices of the Court,” Kinlin wrote.
He also argued that since no evidence of drugs was found at the scene, it’s possible Lorain police erred when they suggested Wilsey had overdosed on heroin.
“In conclusion, (the Bar Association) has not met its high burden of establishing (Wilsey) being a serious threat of public harm to where there is such a need to pull her law license right now before she has her opportunity of due process,” Kinlin wrote.
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