State bar clears local attorney after conviction

·2 min read

Jul. 2—The Oklahoma Bar Association declined to take action against a local attorney convicted of a misdemeanor charge in March.

Brecken Wagner was convicted by a Pittsburg County jury in March of a misdemeanor count of false reporting of a crime — assessing him a $500 fine with no jail time and acquitting him of a charge of obstructing an officer.

The charges stemmed from a September 2020 incident when McAlester firefighters extinguished what was called a grease fire in the kitchen at a McAlester residence. During a walk-through to make sure the fire had been extinguished and no one else was inside, McAlester Fire Marshall Clint Armstrong reported seeing alleged drug paraphernalia which led police to seek a search warrant of the residence.

Wagner was accused of obstructing McAlester Police Lt. Bobby Cox in the performance of his official duty by failing to obey Cox's "lawful commands and/or willfully attempting to delay the McAlester Police Department's execution of a search warrant" at the McAlester residence.

The false reporting of a charge misdemeanor count accused Wagner of calling a MPD dispatcher to complain police were trespassing on the property during the incident.

Wagner testified during the trial he was summoned to the scene to represent his clients that included the owners of the property.

"Upon consideration of the fact giving rise to the arrested and subsequent conviction, it appears that respondent was not being dishonest or deceitful during his arrest," wrote Stephen Sullins, assistant general council for the Oklahoma Bar Association.

"It does appear that Respondent likely crossed the line of being a zealous advocate for his client and handed his interaction with the police poorly," Sullins wrote.

Sullins wrote that although Wagner was convicted for a crime and that his behavior "could have been better" the incident "does not appear to have eroded the integrity and confidence that the public has in the legal profession."

The documents states that Wagner has been a member in good standing with the OBA since 2004 and that no evidence was discovered by OBA which would "facially demonstrate" Wagner's unfitness to practice law.

"Based upon the facts which led to respondent's misdemeanor conviction and existing case law, complainant agrees with respondent that an order of immediate interim suspension is not warranted," Sullins wrote.

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com

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