Fayette County DA will face disciplinary board over handling of DUI case involving his son

The handling of a case involving the Fayette County District Attorney’s son garnered a lot of attention last year and has now led to an investigation by the state disciplinary board.

Craig Simpson, the attorney representing District Attorney Richard Bower, said he believes the board launched its own investigation because of the attention this case received.

The district attorney at the center of a scandal last year involving the handling of his own son’s DUI case is now expected to be reprimanded by the state disciplinary board next month.

Bower recused himself from prosecuting his son’s criminal case, but that is not what led to the initial criticism.”I think it’s because he’s an elected official that it generated this much attention,” Simpson said.

Channel 11 first reported this case last year.

Richard Bower Jr. was charged after state police said he drove drunk and crashed into another driver on Route 119 near the Fayette County fairgrounds.

The DA recused himself and then hired a special prosecutor — a local Uniontown attorney.They chose to drop the DUI charges and substituted a more serious charge of recklessly endangering another person.But, officials at the state level said the case should have been immediately turned over to the attorney general’s office.Bower admitted his mistake and said he misinterpreted the statute.

We sat down with the attorney now representing the district attorney.He said he believes Bower’s publicly elected position led to the disciplinary board taking a public action.”I suspect that would be one of the arguments the counsel made to get public discipline is because he’s a public official. A conflict of interest for an attorney who has no prior record, a conflict of interest might result in private discipline under usual circumstances,” Simpson said.

Bower’s son was prosecuted by the attorney general’s office for DUI and other related charges.He was given accelerated rehabilitation disposition — a program for first-time offenders.The charges will eventually be expunged from his record.

Meanwhile, Simpson believes Bower’s appearance before the disciplinary board in December will be the end of the matter.”They have a prepared statement they read indicating what we found you did wrong, what rules were violated, and basically tell him to go forth and sin no more,” Simpson explained.

That public reprimand is scheduled for December.Simpson said if Bower has another complaint in the future, this reprimand could be used against him and a more severe punishment could be handed down.

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