A former defense attorney in Parker who flew a skull-and-crossbones flag outside his office when he won a case has been suspended for three years for inappropriate texts.
Morley Swingle, who now lives in Missouri, was handed the punishment April 14. He will have to apply for reinstatement in 2026 if he wants to practice law in Colorado again.
Swingle practiced in Parker between 2013 and 2016 after decades as a prosecutor in Missouri. He then returned to the Show Me State, where he ran into serious ethics issues.
Swingle resigned as a prosecutor in Columbia, Mo., in 2021 after texts came to light between Swingle and two women who were closely tied to cases that he was prosecuting.
In the first case, Swingle texted with a young woman who had driven her co-defendants to the scene of a fatal shooting, pleaded guilty and agreed to help prosecutors. Swingle and the woman exchanged photos and he helped her find work and a place to live.
In one text, Swingle said that he had an extra bedroom at his house “but that WOULD be inappropriate,” according to Missouri Lawyers Media, which first reported on the texts. “As good an advocate as I am, I couldn’t explain that one away!” Swingle texted her.
In a separate matter, Swingle was found to have used the dating app Tinder to meet the girlfriend of a man who had been murdered while Swingle was prosecuting the accused killer. He texted that it was “like the beginning of a Hallmark Channel love story.”
Other flirty texts included, “I am so ready to hold you,” “You are even prettier in person,” “I could not take my eyes off you!” and an invitation to his jacuzzi. Investigators in Missouri also determined that Swingle gave the young woman more than $500 in gifts.
Because Swingle never told defense attorneys in either case that he was texting witnesses, he had to withdraw from the two cases and special prosecutors were appointed to replace him. Then, in December, the Missouri Supreme Court suspended his law license for three years. Colorado’s attorney discipline office followed suit and did the same last week.
Swingle cast a colorful shadow during his brief time in Parker, according to a 2015 article in the Parker Chronicle. He flew the black-and-white pirate flag after a client was acquitted or charges were dropped, in homage to Melvin Belli, an eccentric celebrity attorney. He regretted that noise ordinances in Parker prevented him from also firing a cannon.
In addition to appearing on true-crime shows such as “Dateline” and “Forensic Files,” Swingle has written two crime novels and a nonfiction book called “Scoundrels to the Hoosegow: Perry Mason Moments and Entertaining Cases from the Files of a Prosecuting Attorney.”
Swingle did not respond to requests for comment about his law license suspension.