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STATE BAR ACCUSES FORMER OFFICIAL OF FAILING TO PROSECUTE 5 APPEALS

SHARE STATE BAR ACCUSES FORMER OFFICIAL OF FAILING TO PROSECUTE 5 APPEALS

The Utah State Bar wants the former president of Utah County's Legal Defenders Association of Utah County disciplined for failing to prosecute four criminal appeals and one civil appeal.

The bar filed a complaint against Donald E. Elkins in 3rd District Court Monday. All four incidents cited in the complaint occurred while Elkins was president of the Legal Defenders Association or under contract with Utah County to provide defense work.The Deseret News could not reach Elkins for comment.

The Utah Court of Appeals contacted the bar about disciplining Elkins after he allowed deadlines on several appeals to pass without filing the appeals.

Elkins promised to appeal the criminal convictions of Kevin Kinross, William I. Leon, Carl M. McClellan and Thomas A. Proctor. The men were convicted of various crimes from 1989 to 1992.

Elkins also agreed to appeal a civil matter for Clyde Powell.

But in each case, Elkins failed to file the proper information even though the deadline for filing it was extended several times. The appeals court dismissed each of the appeals because of Elkins' failure to pursue them.

Kinross' family called Elkin repeatedly to find out about Kinross' appeal. Elkins told the family he was pursuing the appeal even though he wasn't, according to the complaint.

"Elkins' failure to prosecute the appeal wasted the court's time and resources and demonstrated a wanton indifference toward his client," the complaint says.

The appeals court dismissed Leon's appeal after Elkins failed to file a brief on time. Elkins asked the court to reconsider. The court reinstated the appeal but told Elkins he had to file the brief within 10 days. Elkins took 12 days to file the brief, according to the complaint.

While in prison, Leon sent certified letters to Elkins and called him repeatedly. Elkins refused to take Leon's calls and ignored his letters, Leon said in a letter to the Utah State Bar.

A state judge will hold a hearing in the matter.