A Winston-Salem lawyer who was suspended three years ago on multiple allegations of professional misconduct has been reinstated.
The N.C. State Bar issued an order of reinstatement on Oct. 22, according to a document.
In 2016, the State Bar suspended Michael Paul Crowe’s law license for three years after finding that he violated several rules of Professional Conduct. Crowe had a solo practice in Winston-Salem that specialized in criminal defense work, including driving while impaired, drug charges and murder.
According to State Bar documents, Crowe was accused of misconduct in three different criminal cases. In one case, he was representing William Adrian Flowers, who was accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl. The State Bar alleged that Crowe issued a subpoena to the girl, ordering her to appear in his office for a deposition.
Depositions are usually taken in civil litigation but one can be done in a criminal case if a witness cannot attend a trial. But defendants are supposed to ask a clerk of court to appoint “some responsible person” to conduct the deposition and defendants have to notify prosecutors within 10 days of the deposition so that they can have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses.
Crowe failed to do that, the State Bar said. The girl was never told she didn’t have to appear, she didn’t have an attorney with her and Forsyth County prosecutors did not attend.
Crowe was accused of doing the same thing with an eyewitness in the case, illegally issuing a subpoena. The State Bar said Crowe took advantage of both the girl and the eyewitness, who were both minors, and the girl was particularly vulnerable because she was a victim of sexual abuse.
The State Bar also alleged Crowe issued a subpoena in violation of state law to the prosecuting witness in another case. Crowe also filed motions to have that witness held in contempt and to compel her to testify, State Bar documents said.
In a third case, Crowe was accused of falsifying a power of attorney for a Yadkin County man Crowe was representing on several charges of obtaining property by false pretenses. Crowe, the State Bar said, failed to tell the man about a potential conflict of interest. He also falsely told a detention officer that the man’s wife was his legal assistant in order to meet in the attorney visitation area.