SALT LAKE CITY — An attorney based in North Salt Lake had his bar accreditation pulled for three years after he admitted to mishandling four cases, three of which occurred out of Weber County.
Sean Young faced a total of 20 complaints alleging he failed to contact witnesses, failed to respond to clients' requests, and did not respond to multiple letters sent to him by the state bar's Office of Professional Conduct, among other issues, according to court filings.
Young's bar accreditation was officially pulled in early September, after the state ordered the three-year suspension a month prior.
One prominent case involving Young's misconduct is the capital murder case of Douglas Lovell.
After Lovell sentenced to death for pleaded guilty to capital murder in the death of Joyce Yost in 1993, the Utah Supreme Court allowed him to withdraw his plea in 2011. Shortly after, Young was appointed to Lovell's defense team, according to court documents.
Young was assigned to contact 18 witnesses to testify at Lovell's 2015 trial, and assured his co-counsel that he was doing his work, but said many of them were being uncooperative. According to complaints filed against Young, he only contacted two witnesses.
"The witnesses that Mr. Young failed to contact had compelling evidence to present to the jury on Mr. Lovell's behalf, but they were never called to testify as a witness," according to an amended complaint against Young filed in May 2018.
The complaint also says that Young failed to object to the LDS Church's interference with witness testimony after church leaders told several character witnesses that "they should not support a murderer." The LDS Church allegedly threatened a potential witness with excommunication, according to the complaint.
Young is still listed as an attorney on Lovell's online court docket.
In 2011, Young was appointed to represent John Gallegos, a former Washington Terrace man who would later be convicted by a jury of attempted murder in 2015.
Young's co-counsel, Samuel Newton, alleged in the complaint that Young failed to meet with Gallegos, failed to collect evidence, and did not object to "irrelevant and highly prejudicial gang and tattoo evidence" during Gallegos' appeal.
The Utah Court of Appeals struck down Gallegos' appeal earlier this month, with the dissenting judge saying the appeal did not explain how the totality of evidence against him would alter the outcome of the trial. Young was not listed as an appellant attorney in the opinion issued by the appeals court.
The third local case listed in the complaints against Young involved a Magna man who eventually pleaded guilty in Weber County to sexually abusing a child in 2013.
The defendant, Logan Neilson, called Young "multiple times" to request copies of his discovery and his case file, but Young did not respond, according to the complaint.
With Young's admission to mishandling four cases, the state dismissed 16 other complaints made against him.