Attorney sentenced to 30 days in jail for theft

EVERETT — As an attorney, Stephen Conroy had a higher duty to follow the law, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Millie Judge said Thursday.

Conroy’s recent conviction for theft represented a significant breach of the public trust, the judge said.

She ordered Conroy’s arrest in the courtroom, sentencing him to 30 days in the county jail.

Conroy was placed in handcuffs by a marshal. He sat cuffed in the jury box while attorneys wrapped up the paperwork.

It was an unexpected outcome for the 66-year-old, who was accused of stealing about $6,000 from a client.

Conroy has maintained that it was a contract dispute, not a theft. Lynnwood police disagreed.

Prosecutors and Conroy’s attorneys had jointly recommended a sentence of community service rather than jail time, which Judge denied.

“I’m very disappointed in the actions that took place here,” she said.

The defense attorney attempted to argue with the judge, asking if she would consider house arrest instead.

“I will not,” she said.

Conroy practiced law for four decades, his attorney said. He had no previous criminal history and has since been disbarred. In his career, Conroy had been a mentor to others, and took on many cases as charity, the attorney said.

“What happened here is unfortunate and regrettable,” the defense attorney said.

The conviction, however, was not Conroy’s first time in trouble.

He was a longtime municipal court judge in south county until about 15 years ago.

He resigned from that position after a state’s Judicial Conduct Commission investigation found that he’d dismissed a traffic citation for a woman he had dated.

In the theft case, Conroy entered a modified plea, denying wrongdoing but saying that a jury would be likely to convict him at trial.

It’s been a frustrating situation, Conroy told the court.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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