Precinct 333

Friday, March 25, 2005

Quid Pro Quo Leads To School Board Member's Arrest

Leigh Heavin's husband needed a lawyer to represent him in his criminal trial. She called Steven C. Copenhaver, a Round Rock ISD school board member, and told him she didn't have much money but needed someone to represent her husband.

Most lawyers will reduce fees, do pro bono work, or otherwise help a client out. Copenhaver offered Heavin a deal.

Copenhaver told Heavin that they could work something out and asked her if she had any good-looking friends, according to the warrant. He told her that he had fantasized about two women having sex together, according to the warrant.

The next day, Copenhaver came to Heavin's apartment shortly after her sister-in-law, Malinda Tilley, had dropped in, the warrant said. Unknown to Copenhaver, it said, Heavin's mental health caseworker, her mother and her husband were in a back bedroom.

Copenhaver asked Tilley and Heavin to perform sexual favors for him, according to the warrant. When the women asked "what they would get out of this," Copenhaver said he would represent Heavin's husband, the warrant said.

Uhhhhh -- yeeee-ah. Words just fail me. As I'm sure words failed Copenhaver when Heavin's husband, mental heath caseworker and other relatives came out of the back bedroom and called the police.

And you've gotta love the wahoo who is the head of the school board. I imagine he was stunned, but surely he could have come up with something more than a statement that he didn't know how the arrest would impact Copenhaver's service on the school board. Isn't there a zero tolerance policy out there somewhere that might cover this situation?

And then there is this from the state bar association.

Dawn Miller, chief disciplinary counsel for the State Bar of Texas, said exchanging legal services for sexual favors could constitute a violation of rules barring "illegal or unconscionable" fees. Punishment could range from a reprimand to disbarment, Miller said.

Could constitute a violation of the rules barring "illegal or unconscionable" fees? COULD? Ya think?

Copenhaver has been charged with prostitution, and released on $750 bail.


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