Addison County’s top prosecutor has moved to get her law license back

Addison County State’s Attorney Eva Vekos is arraigned on a DUI charge in Addison County Superior criminal court in Middlebury on Feb. 12, 2024. (VtDigger - Glenn Russell)

Addison County State’s Attorney Eva Vekos is arraigned on a DUI charge in Addison County Superior criminal court in Middlebury on Feb. 12, 2024. (VtDigger - Glenn Russell) VtDigger file — Glenn Russell

By ALAN J. KEAYS

VtDigger

Published: 04-09-2024 11:50 AM

A week after the Vermont Supreme Court ruled to suspend her law license, Addison County State’s Attorney Eva Vekos has asked the court to lift the suspension, saying she has now complied with a state investigation that followed her arrest earlier this year for drunken driving.

David Sleigh, Vekos’ attorney, submitted the request in a two-page filing with the state’s highest court on Thursday.

According to the filing, the prosecutor for the state panel overseeing Vermont lawyers does not oppose the motion. Jon Alexander, the disciplinary counsel with the Professional Responsibility Board, sought Vekos’ law license suspension for failure to cooperate with his investigation into her three-week paid medical leave following her drunken driving arrest.

The Vermont Supreme Court had not ruled on the request to lift the suspension as of Friday afternoon, according to the court’s website, where rulings are posted.

Sleigh, in the filing, stated that his client has “fully cooperated” with Alexander and the Board, which regulates lawyers and is a part of the Vermont judiciary. “In particular,” Sleigh wrote, “(Vekos) has explained the circumstances and nature of her self-imposed three-week leave from the Addison County State’s Attorney’s Office.”

In an interview Friday morning, Sleigh would not disclose what information Vekos provided to the disciplinary counsel.

Alexander, reached Friday morning, said it was accurate that he did not object to the “dissolution” of the law license suspension for Vekos, as stated in Sleigh’s filing. He declined further comment, adding that the filing “speaks for itself.”

Vekos, despite the Vermont Supreme Court ordering the “immediate” suspension of her law license on March 27, has continued to serve in her elected post as Addison County state’s attorney.

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According to state law, a person does not need a law license to serve in the position. However, the duties they can perform are limited to mostly administrative tasks since they can’t practice law and are prohibited from taking part in court hearings or filing briefs.

Vekos was elected to her first four-year term as Addison County state’s attorney in November 2022.

Earlier last week, a majority of the legislative delegation from Addison County called on Vekos to resign. They issued a press release citing what they called her “unprofessional conduct” and “offensive comments about local law enforcement.”

Sleigh said on Friday that his client did not intend to resign.

Vekos was arrested on the night of Jan. 25 on a drunken driving charge after she allegedly showed up impaired to the scene of a suspicious death investigation in Bridport, Vt.

According to charging documents, Vekos refused to perform field sobriety tests or to take a breath test. She also would not agree to be photographed or fingerprinted once at the state police barracks in New Haven, Vt., where she was processed for the driving under the influence charge, the documents stated.

In the days following her arrest, Vekos had an email exchange with law enforcement leaders in Addison County in which she stated she no longer felt safe around police and disparaged their intelligence by mocking their grammatical skills.

She has since pleaded not guilty to the DUI charge, which remains pending.

Vekos went on paid medical leave Feb. 9 and returned to her post about three weeks later.

Alexander, in seeking to suspend Vekos law license in February, contended that the state’s attorney did not cooperate with his investigation into her medical leave. He had argued that there were several unanswered questions, including whether the reasons for the medical leave had been resolved or were under control.

Sleigh, in his filing, said the suspension of his client’s license was intended not as a sanction, but to “protect the public from harm,” based on Vekos’ failure to respond to the request for information “adequately.”

“Respondent’s subsequent cooperation has eliminated any risk of harm,” Sleigh wrote.