Trials and Tribulations

The bar takes on the case of the loving, lying suburban prosecutor.

It gets worse if not weirder for the suburban municipal-court prosecutor who admits she lied on the witness stand. Margita Dornay Noe has told Washington State Bar Association investigators that she is being subjected to the "outright hatred" of some of her accusers and denies having had a "consensual" sexual affair with a King County Sheriff's deputy, despite writing him loves notes such as, "I love you . . . oh my god . . . I lust you." She also now says the deputy, David Hick, who presented her with a horse and other expensive gifts during their yearlong affair and convinced her he was a dangerous mafioso, gave her a loaded gun just after they met. Currently Kirkland's city prosecutor, Dornay (she goes by her maiden name) has obtained a restraining order against Hick. He was forbidden by the judge in that case to carry a firearm and was fired by the sheriff's department in June (see "Sex and the Law," Aug. 29). Now it's Dornay facing discipline, due to 20 individual complaints to the bar filed after she admitted she lied for Hicks during his Snohomish County divorce case earlier this year. Though bar complaints and responses prior to full investigations are private, Seattle Weekly has obtained copies of the preliminary reports. The bar is deciding whether to charge the attorney/prosecutor with misconduct for perjury and having an undisclosed affair with an officer. Dornay, who has also prosecuted cases in Tukwila, Kenmore, Shoreline, and other suburban cities under contract with her Issaquah law firm, Kenyon Dornay Marshall, claims that 19 of the 20 bar complaints were orchestrated by a bitter ex-defendant, Ron Belec, an investigator for ABC Legal Services in Seattle. Dornay prosecuted him last year for telephone harassment in Tukwila. Belec insists he was wrongly prosecuted by Dornay; he was convicted and has appealed. The 20th complaint, Dornay says, was submitted by another resentful ex-defendant, Bill Sheehan of Mill Creek, who has also filed a criminal complaint with the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office and who has the same attorney as Belec. Sheehan has been battling Kirkland over free speech on the Net. Claiming he'd been harassed by Kirkland police, Sheehan last year began posting officers' names, addresses, birth dates, and home phone numbers on his Web site (he also posted Dornay's personal information). A King County judge later ordered Sheehan to remove the officers' Social Security numbers, and Kirkland filed a $600,000 privacy-invasion lawsuit hoping to shut down the site. The city dropped the suit in June after passage of a new state law that could achieve the same effect. Sheehan is now challenging that law in federal court. In her statement to the bar, the married Dornay, 34, says Hick, 33, coincidentally "first thrust himself into my life very shortly after I convicted William Sheehan in Kirkland Municipal Court," in the spring of 2001. After a court session, she says, "Hick followed me to my car and tried to give me a loaded gun to use for my personal protection. I repeatedly declined, but he ultimately slid it under my car mat and walked away." From that odd beginning, love bloomed, according to testimony and evidence presented during the restraining-order hearing held in June this year. Though Dornay now claims to the bar, without elaboration, that any sex with Hick was non-consensual, Issaquah District Judge Mary Ann Ottinger termed the affair a "physical and consensual relationship." The relationship ended in March. Dornay has not responded to requests for comment. Belec, who specializes in tracking down defendants attempting to avoid service of legal papers, says he was prosecuted by Dornay for making two allegedly harassing phone calls to the girlfriend of a man he later caught up with. He says his tactics were legal and he's confident the conviction will be reversed. "I don't hate Dornay, despite what she may think," he says. "I just feel that a public officer of the court should be held to the same truthful standards she demands of anyone she puts on the witness stand."

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