Attorney who represented Albert Wilson in rape case disciplined by Kansas Supreme Court
photo by: Sara Shepherd
The lawyer who represented a defendant in a controversial Douglas County rape case that was later dismissed has been put on three years of probation by the Kansas Supreme Court for professional misconduct.
The lawyer, Forrest Lowry, represented Albert Wilson, of Wichita, who was convicted of rape in 2019 and served two years in prison. Wilson was granted a new trial due to ineffective assistance of counsel by Lowry, and the case was ultimately dismissed by Douglas County District Attorney Suzanne Valdez in 2021. Wilson is now suing the state for wrongful conviction, as the Journal-World previously reported.
The disciplinary action against Lowry, released by the state Supreme Court Friday, cites Lowry’s work on Wilson’s case and a murder case in Allen County.
The court said that Lowry engaged in a pattern of neglect and had failed in his duty to his clients and to the legal system regarding matters of diligence, communication, expediting litigation and professional misconduct. Specifically, he failed to request necessary reports and to review text messages that were crucial to Wilson’s defense, among other matters.
Lowry was admitted to the Kansas bar in 1988 and had been practicing law for more than 30 years, the court noted. The court said that Lowry had expressed remorse for his misconduct, and the order indicated that Lowry had dealt with sleep apnea, depression and “occupational paralysis” for years, which Lowry testified had affected his ability to do his job.
The court issued a 90-day suspension for Lowry but stayed that pending successful completion of a three-year probation plan, which Lowry had already begun in 2021 and which is overseen by a supervisor.
“The hearing panel concludes that the probation plan contains adequate safeguards to address the respondent’s misconduct” and to “protect the public,” the court’s order said.
Wilson’s wrongful conviction claim is set to go to trial on Aug. 28, 2023.