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Former deputy prosecutor charged

CdA lawyer suspected of conspiring to distribute drug

A Coeur d’Alene lawyer arrested on suspicion of 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. A judge released him after his appearance in U.S. District Court in Coeur d’Alene on Wednesday, said Nancy Cook, the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case.

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 from 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 his time with the office, which lasted less than a year, 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 painkiller.

The region has seen a sharp increase in pharmacy robberies over the past year by people looking for the drug.

Meghann M. Cuniff can be reached at (509) 459-5534 or