Former DA Mary Rain Barred From Practicing LawPosted: Updated:
Former St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary Rain is barred from practicing law in New York for two years.
A state appellate court says Rain violated rules of professional conduct during her time as the county's top prosecutor.
In its decision, the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division Third Judicial Department states: "Prosecutors carry an obligation to hold themselves to the highest standards based upon their role in our system of justice, and respondent's (Rain's) severe and persistent misconduct while serving in that role damages the reputation and public confidence placed on those in her former role."
Among other things, the court takes issue with some of Rain's actions during the murder trial of Oral "Nick" Hillary, whom Rain prosecuted for the 2011 death of 12 year old Garrett Phillips of Potsdam. Hillary was found not guilty.
It determined that Rain "consciously disregarded the attorney-client relationship of an incarcerated witness" by telling investigators to disregard the witness's wish that his lawyer be present during an interview.
In the decision, the court found that Rain's "conduct involved dishonesty, was prejudicial to the administration of justice and reflected adversely on her fitness as a lawyer."
It also found that Rain deliberately failed to disclose evidence that would have benefited Hillary's defense and that she lied about it to the court.
According to the court, Rain contended that much of her misconduct was the result of negligence rather than intentional conduct. "However, it is evident from the record that throughout much of the events underlying these proceedings, respondent (Rain) acted with either the intent or knowledge of the effect her actions would have," the decision states.
Hillary's lawyers filed a federal lawsuit in 2017 naming Rain and others associated with his arrest and prosecution. Among other things, the lawsuit claims evidence was withheld and even fabricated.
Rain served as district attorney from 2013 through 2017.
7 News reached out to Rain and her attorney for comment. We'll update this story if we hear from them.