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Former Aitkin assistant county attorney suspended for misconduct in ND

Contributed
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Sora Shimazaki via Pexels

Garrett Slyva's discipline in North Dakota stemmed from the complaint of a public defender's office client, who said Slyva asked her out on a date during a jail visit.

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Supreme Court suspended a former assistant Aitkin County attorney following disciplinary action in North Dakota over professional misconduct.

The court issued a 30-day suspension from practicing law for Garrett Slyva on June 26, effective two weeks after the order. The discipline in North Dakota stemmed from the complaint of a client while Slyva worked for the Fargo Public Defender’s Office between 2021 and 2022.

According to the victim's testimony, Slyva asked her out on a date during an in-person visit at the Cass County Jail in Fargo. He also told the client the conversation should stay between them because he controlled her court date.

According to court documents, Slyva initially denied the visit took place as described and said the client misunderstood the conversation. The disciplinary board in North Dakota found the client's testimony to be credible, however, alongside that of jail staff, who described her demeanor after the visit.

Slyva later unconditionally admitted to the allegations and acknowledged the findings of the North Dakota Supreme Court show he committed misconduct.

Slyva was investigated two months before this particular visit for inappropriately putting his arm around a client. That alleged conduct prompted the supervising attorney in the public defender's office to require Slyva to make in-person visits only behind a glass partition. But Slyva did not follow this order during the jail visit at the center of the complaint.

The public defender’s office fired Slyva in 2022 after the allegations came to light. The North Dakota Supreme Court reprimanded Slyva for the conduct in October 2023, while he served as an assistant county attorney in Aitkin County.

KAXE confirmed Wednesday that Slyva is no longer employed in Aitkin County. As of May 28, he is now an assistant county attorney in Blue Earth County in Mankato.

The Minnesota Supreme Court also required Slyva to submit proof of his successful completion of the written exam required for admission to practice law on the subject of professional responsibility.