Former Burnett County District Attorney William Norine is still facing scrutiny after creating conflicts of interest with defendants in Burnett County even though he may not have been prosecuting their case.
Norine served Burnett County for almost ten years from 2008 to August 2018. He resigned from the position at that time, then a few months later a television news broadcasted a story alleging Norine had asked female defendants out on dates.
Now it’s a public reprimand from the Minnesota Supreme Court. This week the Minnesota Supreme Court has publicly reprimanded Norine and issued him a fine of $900 in costs pursuant to Minnesota Rules on Lawyers Professional Responsibility (Rule 24, RLPR.)
The Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) was in charge of the investigation in Wisconsin back in February.
The OLR is an agency of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. They receive grievances relating to lawyer misconduct, conduct investigations, and prosecute violations of lawyer ethics rules.
The public reprimand was written by Wisconsin Supreme Court Referee Allan Beatty.
“Norine, while serving as the District Attorney for Burnett County, communicated via Facebook to multiple women who had pending criminal cases in Burnett County. In these communications, Norine sought lunch, dinner or drink dates, used personal endearments and made improper inducements,” Beatty wrote.
The Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in Minnesota filed a petition seeking disciplinary actions against Norine following the public reprimand by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
The order was recently released and states Norine “sexually harassed women facing criminal charges in his county, although he was not personally prosecuting the matters, which created conflicts of interest from which he failed to withdraw.”
It continues to state Norine was admitted to the Minnesota bar in 1987, however, Norine is not currently authorized to practice in Minnesota. He is on a voluntary-restricted continuing-legal-education status and his registration status is inactive.
Norine told the Court he has not practiced law in Minnesota for almost 11 years. He also told the Court he has no plans to practice law in the state in the future and intends to resign from the Minnesota bar when this matter concludes.