After practicing law for 40 years in North Dakota, Henry Howe had his law license suspended in an emergency action this past Friday. The North Dakota Supreme Court suspended his license and stated in it’s decision that “sufficient information exists that Howe poses a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public because of the facts attested in the affidavit evidence a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice by murdering a witness.” Howe has been charged in Walsh County with murder conspiracy.
Henry Howe and two co-defendants are accused of conspiring to kill an undercover informant in a drug case. Howe was arrested this past week and let out on $100,000 bail last Thursday. The intended victim of the murder is a woman who was supposed to testify in a drug case against one of Howe’s clients. This type of felony is a Class AA felony with a top sentence of life in prison without parole.
Before the North Dakota Supreme Court made it’s decision to suspend Howe’s license, they made note about the other state rules he has violated. North Dakota’s rules of professional conduct for attorneys states that an attorney will be in violation if they fail to disclose information reasonably necessary to prevent death or serious bodily harm. In addition, the justices said he violated the rules further by obstructing another’s access to evidence, by committing a criminal act that adversely reflects on his fitness as a lawyer, and by engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.
Although this is the worst charge Howe faces, he has been battling in recent weeks with state officials to keep his law license over previous disciplinary actions. He has been sued by a Mexican couple who allege his malpractice over more than 4 years cost them and their children hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. The couple claims that he failed to provide them effective counsel before federal immigration courts threatening their deportation.
Howe will be hiring an attorney to defend him against the murder conspiracy charge. He has also told the judge that he believes he will be exonerated of these charges.
ABA Journal, Longtime defense attorney charged in murder conspiracy, has license suspended on emergency basis, Martha Neil, 2/3/2014