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Sirens & Gavels

CdA lawyer imprisoned for OxyContin

A Coeur d'Alene defense lawyer and former deputy prosecutor was sent to prison recently after police said he recruited a client to help feed his OxyContin addiction. 

Shawn C. Nunley, 39, was sentenced to five years in prison with eligibility for parole in two years after he pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance.

But 1st District Judge Ben Simpson retained jurisdiction over the case, meaning Nunley could be released after six months. Nunley arrived at the Idaho State Correctional Institution, just south of Boise, on Oct. 15.

Police reports at the time of his arrest in December 2008 said Nunley's paid for a man to pick up hundreds of OxyContin pills in California each month. The man later went to police and acted as a confidential informant while detectives monitored a transaction between the two. Federal drug charges were dismissed in June 2009, but Kootenai County prosecutors charged Nunley in March. He pleaded guilty in August and was sentenced Oct. 7.

Nunley, who represented himself, filed documents from the Kootenai County Jail last week asking for another hearing to reconsider his prison sentence.

He called himself "a perfect probation candidate" and said he completed a drug rehabilitation program and has "been sober ever since." He said he is a group counselor for a detox group in Orange County, Calif.

Nunley graduated near the top of his class at the University of Idaho and spent time at a large Boise law firm before moving to North Idaho and joining the Kootenai County Prosecutor's Office. The prosecutor at the time, Bill Douglas, said Nunley "did a very good job." He worked there for three years before opening his own firm.

Now Nunley and his firm are being sued in Kootenai County District Court by The Bear Mill, Inc., a stuffed animal manufacturing company in  Coeur d’Alene that claims Nunley botched a trademark lawsuit against a rival Canadian company, Teddy Mountain, Inc., then demanded payment of nearly $59,000.

Nunley was arrested in a grocery store parking lot in Coeur d'Alene on Dec. 16. Police found an open beer in his car as well as drugs, a handgun and more than $2,200 in his hotel room, according to a police report.

According to the report, Nunley told a detective he consumed about nine 80 mg pills of OxyContin a day and spent up to $100,000 on the drug each year.

He also admitted to sometimes using heroin, but Nunley said in a document written Oct. 13 that he used only one dosage of the drug over two hours "to avoid withdrawals from OxyContin."

"It was one dosage," Nunley wrote.

Nunley was admitted to the Idaho State Bar Association in 2002, but his license is now inactive.

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