A Coeur d’Alene lawyer arrested on a conspiracy to distribute the prescription drug OxyContin appeared in federal court Wednesday.
Shawn C. Nunley, 37, worked as a Kootenai County deputy prosecutor about three years ago before opening his own practice.
Nunley was arrested Tuesday night and booked into Kootenai County Jail before a judge released him following his appearance in U.S District Court in Coeur d’Alene Wednesday, said Nancy Cook, the assistant U.S attorney handling the case.
Nunley was charged through a federal complaint with conspiracy to distribute drugs. A federal grand jury indictment is forthcoming.
A woman who answered the phone at Nunley’s office at 912 E. Sherman Ave. declined comment.
Nunley is represented by Coeur d’Alene lawyer James Siebe, who did not return a phone call seeking comment
Nunley came to the prosecutor’s office from a top Boise law firm, said Prosecutor Bill Douglas.
“He came here very highly qualified,” Douglas said. “He got the position over several other very good candidates, and he did a very good job here.”
Nunley graduated top in his class at the University of Idaho law school, Douglas said. He served as a student defender for UI students in the school’s judicial system and made the dean’s list at least twice, according to newspaper archives.
Nunley prosecuted mostly misdemeanor crimes during the less than a year he was with the office, Douglas said.
Douglas didn’t know the details of Nunley’s arrest but said “he’s got the presumption of innocence just like any other person in this free democracy.”
Nunley was arrested by the North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force and booked into jail about 10 p.m. Tuesday, according to jail records.
Described by some experts as synthetic heroin, OxyContin is a powerful drug generally prescribed as a severe pain killer. The region has seen a sharp increase in pharmacy robberies over the past year by people looking for the drug.