Spokane Journal of Business

Spokane attorney to enter felony diversion program

Haynes to forego practice for five years

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A Spokane attorney who once was the youngest-ever president of the 113-year-old Washington State Bar Association recently agreed to enter a felony diversion program after being charged with five counts of theft by Spokane County prosecutors.

In the face of one count each of first-degree theft and first-degree identity theft, as well as three counts of second-degree theft, Robin L. Haynes, 43, entered into the program on Feb. 25, agreeing to forego practicing law in Washington state for five years.

If Haynes successfully completes the diversion program, all charges against her will be dropped, Spokane County court records say.

Prosecutors retain authority to take the case to trial in the event Haynes violates terms of the agreement, including committing other crimes.

Haynes established her own practice, Giant Legal PLLC, following her termination from Spokane-based McNeice Wheeler PLLC.

Under the agreement, Haynes is forbidden to approach or communicate with her former employers, attorneys Ryan McNeice and Becki Wheeler, and must stay away from the premises of the Witherspoon Kelley law firm, of Spokane, also a former employer.

Haynes’ attorney, Spokane-based Kevin Curtis of Winston & Cashatt Lawyers PS, and Spokane County deputy prosecutor Mark Lindsey couldn’t be reached immediately for comment.

In charging documents filed by prosecutors in October 2018, McNeice and Wheeler alleged Haynes stole over $3,800 from the firm by “unlawfully obtaining a copy” of the firm’s credit card in late 2016 or early 2017. The firm also accused Haynes of having transferred Wheeler’s financial identity on 18 separate occasions, court records say.

Witherspoon Kelley representatives also told prosecutors Haynes stole almost $3,200 from the firm from October 2013 to December 2015 by retaining bar association reimbursements that were due to the firm, say court records.

Haynes has paid all restitution owed to her former employers, records show.

Then 37, Haynes was selected as WSBA president-elect in 2015, and her presidential term started in fall 2016. She stepped down from the position the following June when allegations against her became public.

Haynes  had worked as an attorney since graduating from the Gonzaga University School of Law in 2006. 

Before Haynes, former Washington state Supreme Court Judge Mary Fairhurst, also a Gonzaga law school graduate, had been the youngest attorney elected WSBA president, at the age of 40 in 1997.

Kevin Blocker
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