Disbarred attorney kicked off Tony Yapias case


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Sean Young was disbarred as an attorney in July.
Yet he appeared in court on several occasions defending a prominent Latino community activist.

Tuesday, Young’s past caught up to him publicly.

Yapias was supposed to be sentenced for unlawful detention and tampering with evidence.  It was a plea deal that reduced the original rape charge to two misdemeanors.  Prosecutors contend there were problems with their witness and settled on the two minor charges.

Yapias’ sentencing was delayed after the judge learned of Young’s disbarment according to sources.  Prior to Tuesday’s sentencing, the judge met with Young and the prosecutor before calling the case into session.

That’s when Randall Skanchy said Yapias had no attorney but didn’t go into detail.

However, sources pointed ABC4 News to the Utah State Bar’s complaint against Young.

In July, the Office of Professional Conduct with the Utah State Bar issued a settlement agreement that in effect disbarred Young from practicing for three years.  

According to the settlement, Young was found in violation of ethical standards involving 20 clients.  One of those clients, Douglas A. Lovell, was facing capital murder charges.  In 1993, He pleaded guilty to capital murder and was sentenced to death.  But the Utah Supreme Court allowed Lovell to withdraw his plea and sent it back to the district court. Sean Young was appointed co-counsel.  

The state bar found that Young failed to provide adequate representation and a new attorney was assigned to Lovell.  But Young continued to cause problems by failing to supply documents in a timely fashion to the new attorney.  Lovell was eventually found guilty in 2015.  His case remains on hold as attorneys have filed motions.

As for Young, sources said he reached an agreement with the state bar to finish the Yapias case through October 31.  But sources said Young advised the court Monday that the state bar said October 6 was the cutoff date for the Yapias matter.

As a result, Yapias will be required to find a new attorney for his sentencing which will now take place on November 6.

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