Lawyer Who Failed Courthouse Breath Test is Criminally Charged
Michelle Winspur has shown up to court drunk on three separate occasions. She's caused at least one mistrial. She recently left a teenage murder suspect at a preliminary hearing without an attorney.
And now the Visilia, Calif. attorney has pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, and being under the influence of a controlled substance.
She may soon be disbarred.
But currently, she's been put on inactive status while she seeks treatment, presumably through the Bar's diversion and assistance program.
The sad thing is this help should have come sooner.
Michelle Winspur first caught the attention of Bar investigators in May 2010, according to the Visilia Times-Delta. She appeared drunk during a spousal abuse trial, and was referred to disciplinary authorities, who then accused her of lying to them.
In October 2011, she called court officials to let them know she was running late. She sounded intoxicated, so the court clerk had her tested when she arrived.
She had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit. And she had driven there.
In December 2011, she again failed a sobriety test. The bailiff noticed her behavior, and had her tested, reports the Times-Delta. She was under the influence of what has been described only as a "controlled substance."
Why did no one step in the first time Winspur appeared in court while drunk? Where were her colleagues? Where was the Bar?
While you ponder these questions, also ask yourself -- what would you have done if Michelle Winspur was your friend or colleague?
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- Addicted Lawyers: How To Treat Them (FindLaw's Strategist)
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